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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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   2003| April-June  | Volume 1 | Issue 2  
    Online since July 20, 2009

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The Role of Local Taboos in Conservation and Management of Species: The Radiated Tortoise in Southern Madagascar
Marlene Lingard, Nivo Raharison, Elisabeth Rabakonandrianina, Jean-Aime Rakotoarisoa, Thomas Elmqvist
April-June 2003, 1(2):223-246
The radiated tortoise, Geochelone radiata, is endemic to the semi-arid region of southern Madagascar. Despite formal protection by law since 1960 and listing in CITES since 1975, tortoise populations have been reported to be in rapid decline, mainly due to illegal harvesting for food and commercial trade. The Tandroy people, inhabitants of the Androy region, which covers approximately half the tortoise distribution range, do not, however, exploit the species. The Tandroy prohibition against tortoise consumption is expressed as a taboo or fady. The aim of this study was to document the narratives, rules and enforcement mechanisms linked to the taboo, and to assess the potential role of the taboo for the protection and management of the radiated tortoise. Interviews revealed that the Tandroy perception of the animal as 'dirty' underlies the Tandroy taboo, although one informant suggested that the taboo once originated in notions of sacredness. Estimated tortoise abundances ranged from 20 tortoises per ha in an area with no harvesting to 0.6 per ha in an area where a significant proportion of residents were reported to violate the taboo. Infrastructure changes and increasing numbers of immigrants to the region are sources of new pressures on the tortoise. An official acknowledgement of the fady custom and the transformation of this institution for the purpose of conservation and sustainable management of the tortoise may considerably reduce the current high costs of enforcement by formal institutions. The tortoise may constitute an important economic source of revenue if local communities are granted rights to a regulated small-scale trade for the pet market based on locally controlled farming of tortoises. Such actions may provide economic incentives for further transforming and building effective institutions for sustainable management. However, a local institutional strategy also needs to be nested with institutions across scales, for example, at regional and national levels,assisting in controlling harvest and trade.
  6,484 1,005 -
Community, Class and Conservation: Development Politics on the Kanyakumari Coast
Ajantha Subramanian
April-June 2003, 1(2):177-208
In this article I trace the chequered history of 'community' in the coastal belt of Kanyakumari district, from its immediate post-independence role as a mechanism of state intervention in fisheries development to its use in the 1990s in fisher claims to rights and resources, and as a means for devolving conflict management to the local level. I show that the expansion of the state system, in part through development intervention, opened up a charged political arena where Kanyakumari's fishers acquired new tools to negotiate political authority, redefine community and articulate new rights of citizenship. Most importantly, I demonstrate that the development process furthered the mutual implication of state and community, a process that the state has been reluctant to acknowledge. I end the article by arguing that the Tamil Nadu state government's neglect of marine conservation is a function of a bureaucratic sensibility that distinguishes 'state policy' from 'community politics', and resource conservation from social justice, an attitude that has hardened with economic liberalisation. This perspective has prevented the government from taking seriously artisanal fisher demands for trawler regulation and from recognising artisanal activism as a defence of both sectoral rights and of conservation.
  4,649 759 -
Nature, Conservation and Environmental History: A Review of Some Recent Environmental Writings on South Asia
Rohan D'Souza
April-June 2003, 1(2):117-132
  3,731 604 -
Kings as Wardens and Wardens as Kings: Post-Rana Ties between Nepali Royalty and National Park Staff
Nina Bhatt
April-June 2003, 1(2):247-268
This article locates Nepali national park staff (game scouts, rangers and park wardens) in the context of their historical ties with monarchy. The pre-andolan (1951-90) accounts by park staff show how their individual and collective identities were shaped through encounters with royalty, which informed their everyday practices. The social relations, professional goals, and familial desires envisioned by government servants were linked to their perceived closeness with the Nepali kings and through specific events such as royal hunts. Historically, park staff ave displayed particularly strong regard and allegiances for the royal family since Nepali kings sanctioned much of Nepal's early conservation efforts and because monarchs espoused close ties with these officials in the setting up of national parks.
  3,059 400 -
Local Uses of Parks: Uncovering Patterns of Household Production from Forests of Siberut, Indonesia
Subhrendu K Pattanayak, Erin O Sills, Anik D Mehta, Randall A Kramer
April-June 2003, 1(2):209-222
This study empirically investigates how tropical forests contribute to rural economies by using household survey data to understand patterns of local forest use on Siberut, Indonesia. We use household production theory to build a model of forest products collected on Siberut as a function of labour, tools, forest condition and household classes. Five forest products-rattan, sago, and wood for construction, carpentry and fuel-are combined into a composite forest product using market prices as weights. Four classes of households are identified through cluster analysis of assets, including land, livestock, productive equipment and consumer durables. The parameters of the estimated forest production functions are consistent with underlying theory and statistically significant. Labour allocated to forest product collection has the greatest overall influence. In turn, labour allocation is significantly influenced by household composition and socio-economic factors. We also find that forest quality is negatively correlated with forest product collection. All things considered, the wealthiest households collect the least amount of forest products, and the mid-wealth households invest the most labour in collection. We discuss how the estimated parameters can help us identify potential areas of concern, suggest policy levers, understand heterogeneity in local interests and predict responses to park policies.
  2,354 458 -
The Response of Agamid Lizards to Rainforest Fragmentation in the Southern Western Ghats, India
NM Ishwar, Ravi Chellam, Ajith Kumar, BR Noon
April-June 2003, 1(2):69-86
We examine the response of agamid lizards to the fragmentation of their rainfores habitat in the Western Ghats mountains in southern India. The data come from eighteen transects in nearly 400 sq. km of relatively undisturbed and continuou rainforests in the Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR), and thirty-thre transects in fourteen rainforest fragments (less than 1 ha to 2,500 ha) in the Anaimalai Hills, which were sampled during 1997-2000. A total of 263 agamid lizards belonging to eight species were recorded in the KMTR and 443 agamid lizards belonging to five species were recorded in the Anaimalai Hills. In the KMTR species richness showed a unimodal distribution with altitude, while the encounter rate showed a sharp linear decline due to the decrease in two most common species,Draco dussumieriand Calotes ellioti. Transects in forest frag ments at lower elevations (700-1200 m) had lower species richness and encounte rates than the KMTR. Comparison of these forest fragments amongst themselves and with the KMTR showed a decline in the abundance of D. dussumieri C. nemericolaand C. grandisquamis in the smaller fragments. Their encounte rates in the forest fragments, however, were better correlated with habitat feature that represented the structural characteristics of the undisturbed forest (highe canopy height, greater canopy cover and the presence of more buttressed trees) than with the area of the fragment. The most common species in the forest frag­ments,C. ellioti,was unaffected by habitat fragmentation.C. rouxiihas benefite from the fragmentation of these forests and has intruded into the smaller and more disturbed fragments. This study shows that there are considerable differences among species in their response to habitat fragmentation, with some species benefiting(C. rouxii), some remaining unaffected(C. ellioti) and others adversely affected (D. dussumieri, C. nemericola and C. grandisquamis). Protection and restoration of forest fragments, many of which are privately owned, is necessary for the conservation of endemic agamid lizards and other arboreal animals.
  2,247 399 -
Conservation Area Networks
Sahotra Sarkar
April-June 2003, 1(2):0-0
  1,421 302 -
Book review 1
Subir Sinha
April-June 2003, 1(2):269-269
Full text not available  [PDF]
  523 223 -
Book review 4
Ajith Kumar
April-June 2003, 1(2):272-272
Full text not available  [PDF]
  461 232 -
Book review 5
Minoti Chakravarty-Kaul
April-June 2003, 1(2):273-273
Full text not available  [PDF]
  417 183 -
Book review 2
Anand Pandian
April-June 2003, 1(2):270-270
Full text not available  [PDF]
  401 192 -
Book review 3
Peter Mollinga
April-June 2003, 1(2):271-271
Full text not available  [PDF]
  402 167 -