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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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   2012| July-September  | Volume 10 | Issue 3  
    Online since September 29, 2012

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The Butterfly House Industry: Conservation Risks and Education Opportunities
Michael Boppré, RI Vane-Wright
July-September 2012, 10(3):285-303
This paper addresses the mass supply and use of butterflies for live exhibits, discusses the risks to biodiversity which this creates, and the educational opportunities it presents. Over the past 30 years a new type of insect zoo has become popular worldwide: the butterfly house. This has given rise to the global Butterfly House Industry (BHI) based on the mass production of butterfly pupae as a cash crop. Production is largely carried out by privately-owned butterfly farms in tropical countries, notably Central America and Southeast Asia. Most pupae are exported to North America and Europe, although the number of butterfly houses in tropical countries is growing. The BHI is described with respect to its stakeholders, their diverse interests, and its extent. It is estimated that the global turnover of the BHI is in the order of USD 100 million. From a conservation perspective, there is a tension between risks and benefits. The risks to biodiversity are primarily unsustainable production, potential bastardisation of local faunas and floras, and genetic mixing within and even between butterfly species. This paper discusses general ways of managing these risks. Ethical concerns range from fair trade issues to animal husbandry and the use of wildlife for entertainment. For the risks to biodiversity and unresolved ethical issues to be tolerable, the BHI needs to make a significant contribution to conservation, primarily through effective education about butterfly biology as a means to raise public awareness of basic ecological processes, and conservation and environmental issues. It should also engage with local conservation initiatives. Currently the BHI's great potential for public good in these respects is rarely realised. The paper concludes by looking at the special nature of the BHI, and its need for effective self-regulation if it is to continue to escape from public scrutiny and the introduction of restrictive regulations. The BHI needs to engage in active cooperation between its various stakeholders regarding a raft of critical issues if it is to survive and fulfil a beneficial role in society. The BHI also needs to forge active partnerships with conservation NGOs, educationalists, and scientists-communities that also need to recognise their own responsibilities towards the industry. We also discuss the need for an effective umbrella organisation for the BHI, as well as a "Code for trading and exhibiting live butterflies".
  12,511 1,071 2
"Blackfeet Belong to the Mountains": Hope, Loss, and Blackfeet Claims to Glacier National Park, Montana
David R Craig, Laurie Yung, William T Borrie
July-September 2012, 10(3):232-242
While relationships between indigenous groups and protected areas have been extensively documented internationally, research on Native Americans and US National Parks is surprisingly sparse. Based on in-depth interviews with Blackfeet Indians, this article examines the complex contemporary relationship between the Blackfeet and Glacier National Park. According to the Blackfeet, tribal relationships with the park landscape are sustained through on-site practices that provide an interwoven and inseparable set of material, cultural, and spiritual benefits. The prohibition and regulation of many historic practices within park boundaries prevents the realisation of these benefits and fuels tensions between the tribe and the park, especially in the context of past dispossession and longstanding animosity toward the federal government. At the same time, the undeveloped landscape of Glacier National Park is evocative of an ancestral past and has, for many Blackfeet, preserved the potential for cultural reclamation and renewal. To realise this potential, Blackfeet argued for greater integration of their needs and perspectives into park management and policy. We suggest reinstatement of treaty rights, voluntary closure of cultural sites, co-management of parklands, and special legal designations as possible paths forward.
  10,915 923 2
Re-creating the Rural, Reconstructing Nature: An International Literature Review of the Environmental Implications of Amenity Migration
Jesse B Abrams, Hannah Gosnell, Nicholas J Gill, Peter J Klepeis
July-September 2012, 10(3):270-284
The term 'amenity migration' describes a broad diversity of patterns of human movement to rural places in search of particular lifestyle attributes. This review of international literature, drawn from the authors' own prior research and searches on relevant databases, synthesises findings on the implications of amenity migration for the creation and distribution of environmental harms and benefits. Further, we critique common framings of amenity migration-related environmental transformations and offer suggestions for future research. Analysis is positioned within a review of five common themes reflected in the cases we consider: land subdivision and residential development; changes in private land use; cross-boundary effects; effects on local governance institutions; and displacement of impacts. Within each of these themes, we discuss the uneven geographies of environmental transformation formed by diverse conceptions of 'nature', patterns of local management of amenity-driven transformations, and ecological contexts. We conclude that, through both intended and unintended environmental consequences of dominant activities and land uses, amenity migration results in a redistribution of environmental harms and benefits at multiple scales, as rural landscapes are (partially and incompletely) re-created in line with the ideals and expectations of amenity migrant populations.
  8,039 1,269 28
Landless Farmers, Sly Opportunists, and Manipulated Voters: The Squatters of the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (Indonesia)
Patrice Levang, Soaduon Sitorus, David Gaveau, Terry Sunderland
July-September 2012, 10(3):243-255
The Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in southern Sumatra (Indonesia) has been on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 2004. Home to tigers, elephants, and rare Sumatran rhinos, the Park is also home to numerous squatters since the early 1970s. Part of the Park was restored after forcible evictions in the 1980s. However, since the end of General Suharto's authoritarian rule in 1998, the number of squatters has been on the increase. This paper provides for the first time a reliable estimation of the number of people encroaching in the Park and presents a profile of the various kinds of squatters living in and around the Park. It shows that all encroachments are not alike, nor are the squatters. Poor landless migrants side with opportunists taking advantage of weak law enforcement, while local politicians try to build a constituency by backing illegal activities in the Park. As a consequence, any action to salvage the Park will have to take into account the complexity of the political ecology, policy environment, and socio-economic nature of each encroachment.
  6,064 680 4
Consequences of Human Land Use for an Afro-alpine Ecological Community in Ethiopia
Zelealem Tefera Ashenafi, Nigel Leader-Williams, Tim Coulson
July-September 2012, 10(3):209-216
The Guassa area of Menz in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia is an Afro-alpine ecological community with an indigenous resource management system. The local community harvest different resources including collecting grass and firewood from the Guassa area. Cattle and other livestock are also grazed in the Guassa area, especially during the dry season. Several sympatric species of endemic rodents dominate the small mammal ecological communities in the Guassa area, and form most of the diet of the endangered Ethiopian wolf. This study aimed to determine if current levels of resource use by the local community through the indigenous resource management system had any discernible effect on rodent community structure. We found that the structure of the rodent community differs between habitat types, and that different species of rodents show diurnal variations in their patterns of activity. We also found that populations of different species show variable responses to each type of resource use in different habitats; some species show increases in abundance in relation to use while others show decreases. Although the indigenous resource management system was not specifically designed to conserve wildlife, it has nevertheless allowed wildlife, specifically small mammals or rodent communities, to co-exist alongside the ongoing resource use by the local community. We conclude the Guassa area represents an interesting model of community-led resource management of an Afro-alpine habitat which supports populations of endemic and threatened species.
  5,801 889 1
Understanding Science in Conservation: A Q Method Approach on the Galápagos Islands
Rose C Cairns
July-September 2012, 10(3):217-231
The variety of perspectives that conservation practitioners and scientists from different disciplinary backgrounds have towards the role of science in conservation add to the already complex nature of most contemporary conservation challenges, and may result in conflict and misunderstanding. This study used Q method (a form of discourse analysis with roots in psychology) in order to uncover the range of perspectives on the science/conservation interface currently held by scientists and conservation managers working on the Galαpagos Islands. The aim was to facilitate mutual understanding and communication between proponents of the various viewpoints, as well as to expose the subjective values, assumptions, and interests on which these opinions are constructed, to critical scrutiny. Twenty-seven people from a range of disciplinary and professional backgrounds carried out a Q test consisting of a sample of 34 selected opinion statements. Four statistically different perspectives emerged from the analysis, emphasising different concerns and highlighting different understandings of science and conservation. The perspectives have been labelled as: 1) Science for management; 2) Freedom of science; 3) Limits of science; and 4. Separation of science and conservation. The similarities and differences between the perspectives are discussed in depth, and the implications for conservation practice are explored in light of the current literature.
  5,078 673 3
A Framework for Evaluating Forest Conservation Implications of Community-based Capacity Building: Experiences from the Northern Bolivian Amazon
Kelly Biedenweg
July-September 2012, 10(3):256-269
Capacity-building projects in forest-based communities are implemented by governments, cooperatives, and non-government organisations to encourage sustainable management of community forests. While such projects are regularly evaluated on a case-by-case basis, they are rarely subjected to a landscape-level examination to explore conservation implications. To understand how environmental capacity-building projects address regional conservation goals, an interdisciplinary framework was developed to highlight the thematic focus, the geographic distribution, and the degree of community participation in environmental capacity-building projects. We demonstrate how the framework can be used by characterising projects in campesino communities in the Amazonian department of Pando, Bolivia, that were active during 2006-2008. While projects were too recent to affect forest cover, we describe how the framework elucidates three project themes (timber, Brazil nut, and agroforestry management); that project distribution was largely related to land tenure security, proximity to town, historical relationships, and motorised access; and that capacity-building strategies varied in participation, depending on thematic content and federal requirements for specific resources. We then discuss how the framework can be used to analyse forest cover implications over many years. Understanding the combination of thematic focus, geographic distribution, and degree of participation in project strategies offers a foundation for understanding how capacity-building initiatives can influence forest landscapes.
  3,825 551 1