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2006| October-December | Volume 4 | Issue 4
June 26, 2009
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Dilemmas in Conservationism in Colonial Zimbabwe, 1890-1930
Vimbai C Kwashirai
October-December 2006, 4(4):541-561
During the period between 1890 and 1930, European farmers and miners established commercial farms and mines in the Mazoe District of colonial Zimbabwe. The colonial cash economy was dependent on state support in expropriating natural resources at the expense of indigenous people. Miners received preferential treatment in timber and energy requirements from the government because they contributed the bulk of state revenue. This policy was a source of protracted conflict between miners and farmers over forest exploitation. However, the state also sought to orient settler farmers towards the production of export crops: tobacco, maize and cotton. The two major pillars of the colonial economy, mining and agriculture, directly caused a fundamental transformation in soil and forest use, leading to deforestation and soil erosion. Soil erosion was a major risk that was faced along with the logistic and financial difficulties of pioneer farming. It however highlighted the negative impact of settler farming, particularly the perennial cultivation of the same crop on the same field, notably tobacco and maize. Land was used for short-term economic gain. What was missing was a willingness on the part of the settler society to deal effectively with the problems of deforestation and erosion, and the need for radical change in individual and collective attitudes towards natural resources.
Common Property among Indigenous Peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon
Jason Bremner, Flora Lu
October-December 2006, 4(4):499-521
Policies promoting conservation of indigenous lands in the Amazon would benefit greatly from a closer examination of the local common property institutions that influence resource use. The goals of this paper are to summarise findings from past research related to common property institutions among indigenous and traditional peoples of the Amazon, and to examine with empirical data, the complex patterns of communal resource management exhibited in a cross-cultural study population in the Ecuadorian Amazon. We find that: (1) the diverse common property institutions functioning among indigenous populations of the Ecuadorian Amazon can be loosely grouped into individual and communal arrangements; (2) conceptions of ownership and rights vary both inter- and intraethnically and; (3) within communities, institutions and the rights they grant vary greatly between different types of resources. Evidence from the literature suggests that indigenous institutions are effective at securing exclusive access and withdrawal rights for community members, but that these institutions are less effective at further managing resources. Our results suggest, however, the existence of diverse management arrangements for a multitude of resources. The growing number of indigenous land conservation strategies demands further research on these complex social institutions to ensure that strategies are both locally appropriate and effective, and thus we suggest several important areas for future research.
Junagadh State and its Lions: Conservation in Princely India, 1879-1947
October-December 2006, 4(4):522-540
Conservation in Princely India, during the British period, was brought on by several causes and responses. The Junagadh State's efforts at conservation were arguably the earliest in the Indian Empire for protecting a species for its own sake. State control of hunting is an old Indian royal tradition, which Junagadh never gave up. However, princely hunting closely linked to reasons of state, had to nevertheless involve its opposite-a strategy for conservation in order to ensure the survival of those hunted. Junagadh state pioneered the 'counting' of large fauna in the sub-continent. The last Nawab laid claim to total ownership of lions, as does the state government of Gujarat today. This paper traces these and related developments leading up to the independence of India and briefly lays the historical foundation of present day conservation efforts.
Tribes, Forest and Social Formation in Indian History
October-December 2006, 4(4):630-633
Consequences of Rural Biomass Extraction for Bird Communities in an Indian Tropical Dry Forest and the Role of Vegetation Structure
Raman Kumar, Ghazala Shahabuddin
October-December 2006, 4(4):562-591
There is limited information on the ecological effects of anthropogenic disturbance caused by extractive activities such as grazing and firewood collection. A study was carried out in Sariska Tiger Reserve in India, to investigate the effects of disturbance on forest bird communities. Vegetation structural parameters including canopy cover, tree basal area and average height of trees were significantly lower in disturbed sites in comparison to undisturbed sites. However, other attributes of tree structure and the features of the understorey and herbaceous layer were unaffected by the disturbance regime. There was no significant difference in the number of recorded species and bird abundance between 'disturbed' (extracted) and 'undisturbed' (nonextracted) sites. However, bird species diversity was significantly lower in disturbed sites. Bird species composition also differed significantly between disturbed and undisturbed sites and was associated with disturbance indicators. Bird species composition was also significantly related to six different structural variables. Abundance of twelve of forty-eight (25%) bird species (that were abundant enough to be analysed), showed significant associations with disturbance indicators as well as one or more of structural variables. Of these, four bird species showed selection for disturbed habitats while eight selected undisturbed habitats over disturbed. Most of the bird species choosing undisturbed over disturbed habitats were insectivores. Both the disturbance index and the vegetation structure had significant effects on bird composition even when the other was controlled for. Our study indicates that forest resource extraction can have significant effects on bird species composition of tropical dry forests through alteration of vegetation structure.
Attitudes and Knowledge of Natural Resources Agency Personnel towards Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs (
Richard P Reading, David Stern, Lauren McCain
October-December 2006, 4(4):592-618
Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) and their management represent a conflict-laden, polarised issue. Until this study, we knew little about the attitudes and knowledge of agency personnel who work with this species. We used semi-structured interviews to develop a mail survey to sample 500 natural resources agency personnel who study, manage or otherwise work with prairie dogs. Within professional fields, land managers generally displayed the most positive attitudes towards prairie dogs, followed by wildlife biologists/managers, and then personnel from agricultural fields. With respect to the geographic scope of their work, respondents working regionally or nationally displayed the most positive attitudes towards prairie dogs, followed by people working within states, and then people working locally. Our results provide possible reasons for these differences, which can serve as a basis for reducing and better managing conflict. In addition, differences between sample groups for many questions were small and not significant, suggesting room exists for finding common ground.
Stature of Juvenile Trees in Response to Anthropogenic Fires in a Tropical Deciduous Forest of Central India
Sonali Saha, Henry F Howe
October-December 2006, 4(4):619-627
Fire is an integral component of many temperate and tropical ecosystems, but it can be disruptive when it occurs in normally fire-free environments. Tropical deciduous forests in India have experienced annual anthropogenic fires for hundreds of years. We examined the effects of anthropogenic fires and fire exclusion on the stature of juvenile trees (_<1.5 m) in a tropical deciduous forest in central India. Plots burnt for 2 consecutive years showed no difference in juvenile size-class distribution before and after the treatment was imposed, while the juvenile trees in plots protected from fires showed a significant increase in height and attained greater stature. In plots protected from fire, juvenile trees exhibited some die-back as a result of dry season drought; however, the proportion of juveniles that died back was significantly smaller than the plants that experienced die-back in burnt plots. Relative growth rate of juvenile trees was significantly greater in unburned plots than in plots burned consecutively for 2 years (P < 0.05). Thus, our results suggest that anthropogenic fires stunt the growth of juvenile trees.
The Tropics and the Traveling Gaze: India, Landscape, and Science, 1800-1856
October-December 2006, 4(4):628-629
M. Krishnan: Eye in the Jungle, Photographs and Writings
October-December 2006, 4(4):633-634
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