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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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  Citation statistics : Table of Contents
   2012| January-March  | Volume 10 | Issue 1  
    Online since January 24, 2012

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Payments for ecosystem services as neoliberal conservation: (Reinterpreting) evidence from the Maloti-Drakensberg, South Africa
Bram Büscher
January-March 2012, 10(1):29-41
Payments for ecosystem/environmental services (PES) interventions aim to subject ecosystem conservation to market dynamics and are often posited as win-win solutions to contemporary ecological, developmental and economic quagmires. This paper aims to contribute to the heated debate on PES by giving contrasting evidence from the Maloti-Drakensberg area, a crucial site for water and biodiversity resources in southern Africa. Several PES initiatives and studies, especially those associated with the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Project (MDTP), claim that an 'ecosystem services' market in the area is feasible and desirable. Based on empirical research in the area between 2003 and 2008, the paper challenges these assertions. It argues that the internationally popular PES trend provided an expedient way for the MDTP implementers to deal with the immense socio-political and institutional pressures they faced. Following and in spite of, tenuous assumptions and one-sided evidence, PES was marketed as a 'success' by the MDTP and associated epistemic communities that are implicated in and dependent on, this 'success'. The paper concludes that PES and the process by which it was marketed are both inherent to 'neoliberal conservation'-the paradoxical idea that capitalist markets are the answer to their own ecological contradictions.
  26 6,970 1,527
Seeing white elephants? The production and communication of information in a locally-based monitoring system in Tanzania
Martin Reinhardt Nielsen, Jens Friis Lund
January-March 2012, 10(1):1-14
The literature on locally-based monitoring in the context of conservation displays a great deal of optimism about the prospects of involving local people in the systematic gathering of information about the condition and use of natural resources and conservation areas to inform management decisions from local to national levels. This study challenges this notion based on a case study of a collaborative forest management and locally-based monitoring project that has been considered a successful showcase example in Tanzania. It does so by comparing information from locally-based monitoring of forest condition and financial transactions, as presented by community management institutions to higher authorities, with forest transect surveys and an audit of financial accounts. The results reveal that the information produced and communicated under the locally-based monitoring system contradicts trends in wildlife densities and human disturbance observed in the forest and under-represents actual financial flows. Interviews and observations further indicate that communication of this information takes place under conditions of ongoing power struggles over access to benefits of collaborative forest management. This study serves to caution that the information produced and communicated under the locally-based monitoring system may be shaped by the incentives and power struggles surrounding the particular context within which the system is based and therefore cannot be taken at face value.
  13 5,212 971
False promise or false premise? Using tourism revenue sharing to promote conservation and poverty reduction in Uganda
David Mwesigye Tumusiime, Paul Vedeld
January-March 2012, 10(1):15-28
Tourism and the sharing of the associated revenues with local people have been increasingly fronted as key instruments for maintaining protected areas (PAs) globally. This paper focuses on a tourism revenue sharing scheme employed in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, involving rural farmers. We find that the scheme faces difficulties in integrating with the existing local historical, socio-economic, and institutional landscapes. Similar experiences from other cases suggest that these challenges are generic, and relate to lack of real local participation; an insignificant scale of economic returns to local people relative to costs; inept institutions in charge of planning, managing and evaluation efforts; and an institutional complexity that constrains most activities. We conclude that although tourism revenue sharing is an appealing concept, and its oft-quoted logic of promoting conservation and rural development is difficult to ignore, it is challenging to plan and implement in competent ways. We do not suggest abandoning tourism revenue sharing, but rather believe that a more concerted effort to overcome the mechanism's economic and institutional shortcomings, as identified in this paper, may be more appropriate. The overall findings indicate that problems are not with tourism revenue sharing as an ambition, but with the difficulties encountered in putting it into practice.
  8 8,631 1,519
Monitoring outcomes of environmental service provision in low socio-economic indigenous Australia using innovative CyberTracker Technology
EJ Ens
January-March 2012, 10(1):42-52
Payments for environmental services (PES) are increasingly promoted as an economic mechanism that could potentially address socio-economic and environmental conservation objectives in developing regions. However, the reporting and conditionality requirements of PES projects can be inhibitory, particularly for people with low environmental monitoring or administration capacity. Here, I provide five case studies where Indigenous Land and Sea Management groups in remote northern Australia, have combined Indigenous ecological knowledge, Western science, and the innovative CyberTracker technology to record and monitor the ecological outcomes of their land management activities to facilitate engagement with mainstream economies in Australia. The case studies elucidate methods of data collection and recording for established and potential PES projects where environmental monitoring and adaptive land and sea management are clear objectives, with longer term prospects for socio-economic benefits of Indigenous community education, empowerment and development. Similar monitoring and reporting methods could be applied in other contexts where individuals or community groups want to engage in emerging mainstream environmental service markets, but lack environmental monitoring and reporting capacity, such as other Indigenous groups, people from economically poor regions, or farmers in environmentally valuable regions.
  7 5,766 688
The place of hunters in global conservation advocacy
Nels Paulson
January-March 2012, 10(1):53-62
Hunters consider themselves conservationists, but they also think of themselves as hunters first. Some environmentalists perceive this as a paradox. This hunting-conservation paradox is typically reconciled in very similar ways across the hunting world, and for many they do so through associational life. Specifically, the sustainable hunting model of governance is promoted by hunters; proponents argue that revenue from hunting increases the funding, and therefore efficacy, of conservation efforts at various scales. While conservation worldwide has benefitted tremendously by this governance, there have been variations in the levels of success of different expected social and economic outcomes. Such variation could be explored through greater incorporation of sustainable hunting in global conservation dialogue, while simultaneously broadening conservation advocacy worldwide. However, this does not typically occur due to low levels of trust, stemming from divides in values and styles of reasoning among various environmentalists and hunting advocates. This paper provides insight into such limitations and, hopefully, informs and encourages further dialogue to improve sustainable hunting governance worldwide and expand the breadth of global conservation advocacy
  4 6,593 846
Prospects for whale shark conservation in Eastern Indonesia through bajo traditional ecological knowledge and community-based monitoring
Natasha E Stacey, Johanna Karam, Mark G Meekan, Samuel Pickering, Jotham Ninef
January-March 2012, 10(1):63-75
The whale shark, Rhincodon typus, is a long-lived migratory species inhabiting tropical and warm-temperate waters worldwide. Seasonal aggregations of whale sharks in shallow coastal waters of many countries have led to the development of ecotourism industries. Whale sharks that aggregate seasonally at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia have a migration range within Indonesian and Southeast Asian waters. However, very little is known about their behaviour, local migration patterns, or potential threats faced in this region. In this study, we investigated traditional ecological knowledge of whale sharks through interviews with Bajo and other fishers from five settlements in the Timor and Roti Islands in eastern Indonesia. We found that there are culturally driven prohibitions and customary beliefs concerning whale sharks among Bajo fishermen, who commonly sight sharks in the Timor Sea, in southern Indonesian and Timor Leste waters. Sightings are most common during the months of August to December. Interviews also indicate a low level of harvesting of whale sharks in the region. The results demonstrate the potential for combining traditional ecological knowledge and new technology to develop whale shark management strategies, and to determine the predictability of whale shark appearances as one vital factor in assessing the potential for development of small-scale whale shark ecotourism initiatives.
  4 9,961 1,054