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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| October-December  | Volume 10 | Issue 4  
    Online since January 3, 2013

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Private-community Partnerships: Investigating a New Approach to Conservation and Development in Uganda
Wilber Manyisa Ahebwa, V René Van der Duim, Chris G Sandbrook
October-December 2012, 10(4):305-317
Nature-based tourism is well recognised as a tool that can be used for neoliberal conservation. Proponents argue that such tourism can provide revenue for conservation activities, and income generating opportunities and other benefits for local people living at the destination. Private-Community Partnerships (PCPs) are a particular form of hybrid intervention in which local benefits are claimed to be guaranteed through shared ownership of the tourism venture. In this paper, we evaluate one such partnership involving a high-end tourist eco-lodge at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. We examine the introduction, development, and implementation of this partnership using the policy arrangement approach. This is done through analysing the actors involved and excluded in the process, the emergence of coalitions and forces, power relations, the governing rules, and the role of framing discourses. The analysis reveals that the technical conceptualisation of the partnership arrangement failed to take proper account of political and contextual factors, resulting in escalating conflict up to the national level. The paper concludes that while more time is needed to evaluate the full impact of hybrid neoliberal approaches such as PCP, the unbalanced power relations they imply can create fertile conditions for political conflict that ultimately undermines their 'win-win' goals.
  6,206 12,351 8
Seeing Red: Inside the Science and Politics of the IUCN Red List
Lisa M Campbell
October-December 2012, 10(4):367-380
The Red List of Threatened Species™ (hereafter Red List) is the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's most recognisable product. The Red List categorises the conservation status of species on a global scale using 'the most objective, scientifically-based information'. Completing Red List assessments is the job of the Species Survival Commission (SSC), and assessments are most often conducted by species specialist groups within the SSC. In the SSC's Marine Turtle Specialist Group (MTSG), assessments have been contested. Debate is often couched in scientific terms, focused on data availability and the relevance of Red List criteria for marine turtles. However, given the potential conservation impacts of such listings, much more is at stake. In this paper, I analyse an exchange among MTSG members that resulted when the draft Red List assessment for the hawksbill sea turtle was circulated to the group in June 2007. The suggested listing of hawksbill turtles as 'critically endangered' sparked an email exchange that highlighted not only the scientific, but also the political, economic, and value-based dimensions of the debate. I draw on ideas of co-production and boundary work to analyse both the debate and the MTSG's response to an associated crisis of legitimacy, and to provide insights into the science-policy interface in conservation.
  6,692 1,027 -
Towards an Improved Understanding of Knowledge Dynamics in Integrated Coastal Zone Management: A Knowledge Systems Framework
Brian Coffey, Kevin O'Toole
October-December 2012, 10(4):318-329
Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) is a complex undertaking that draws on a range of biophysical and social science disciplines, and involves a wide range of stakeholders operating through multiple processes, and crossing various levels. Conceptually, this means that ICZM represents a significant challenge in terms of improving the way in which different disciplinary 'knowledges' and different forms of knowledge (scientific, managerial, lay, and indigenous) inform decision making. Depending upon the circumstances, ICZM may be constrained by different knowledge deficits , including: uncertainty; science - policy gaps; and the 'filtering' of particular forms of knowledge relative to others. As a means for making sense of these knowledge dynamics, this paper considers the concept of knowledge systems and its potential for improving understanding of coastal management processes. The potential insights that can be gained from four analytical approaches (stakeholder, institutional, network, and discourse analysis) are then discussed, and used to develop an analytical framework for investigating coastal knowledge dynamics, which is based upon a generic coastal knowledge system and associated research questions. Finally, the utility of this framework is illustrated using a case study that examines the knowledge dynamics associated with debates about the establishment of marine protected areas in Victoria, Australia.
  4,603 2,099 11
"The White Men Bought the Forests": Conservation and Contestation in Guinea-Bissau, Western Africa
Marina Padrão Temudo
October-December 2012, 10(4):354-366
Both fortress and community-based approaches to conservation have shown poor (sometimes negative) results in terms of environmental protection and poverty reduction. Either approach can also trigger grassroots resistance. This article is centered on an allegedly 'community-based' conservation and development project (and its successive follow-ups) intended to create a national park in Guinea-Bissau. It discusses how external agents have constructed the need for intervention, and explores the negative consequences of the practical solutions adopted for a non-existing problem, as well as the on-going shifting and multiple responses of local people. The article aims to demonstrate that supposedly community-based approaches can be as authoritarian and ineffective as fortress conservation, and that resistance generated by them can be fruitless in terms of collective empowerment and welfare, while also being harmful for the environment. The only genuine winner is the aid industry.
  4,858 692 1
How Global Biodiversity Targets Risk Becoming Counterproductive: The Case of Papua New Guinea
David R Melick, Jeff P Kinch, Hugh Govan
October-December 2012, 10(4):344-353
Despite the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) defining 20 targets across 5 strategic goals, Target 11, which relates to protected areas, has received the most emphasis from donors, non-government organisations, and governments, as a performance standard for conservation in Melanesia. Protected area targets, however, may not be culturally or technically appropriate for Melanesian countries, such as Papua New Guinea (PNG), where resource extraction is central to development. In PNG, most protected areas are ineffective and generally lack government support. Despite this, donors continue to link conservation funding to protected areas and CBD coverage targets. We argue that pressure to establish protected areas and report against numerous multilateral environmental agreements not only fails to deliver conservation benefits, but also wastes scarce resources and retards the development of sustainable conservation approaches in Melanesia. Rather than aspiring to arbitrary spatial targets as set by the CBD, Melanesian governments need to develop appropriate conservation strategies which have incremental approaches that build capacity, improve data quality, and mainstream biodiversity priorities. Low governance capacity remains a major barrier to Melanesian conservation, so greater funding needs to be directed to administrative effectiveness because without a government-driven conservation agenda, biodiversity protection-and protected areas-will inevitably fail.
  4,469 694 4
Environmental Social Science: Human-Environment Interactions and Sustainability
Martha Bonilla-Moheno, T Mitchell Aide, Nora L Alvarez-Berrios, Maria J Andrade-Nunez, Ana V Arache-Martinez, Gabriela P Roman, Ana M Sanchez-Cuervo
October-December 2012, 10(4):386-387
  3,678 513 -
Conservation's Ambiguities: Rangers on the Periphery of the W Park, Burkina Faso
Julie Poppe
October-December 2012, 10(4):330-343
This article demonstrates the central role of ambiguity in the (re)production process of conservation practice. It argues that some current political economy as well as environmentality approaches to research conservation practice fail to capture the complexity of the lived experience of local conservationists. The article focuses on the multiple identities of rangers in interaction with other residents at the periphery of the W Park in Burkina Faso, as rangers are local conservationists who simultaneously submit to and produce conservation practices. Park rangers are village men who are recruited under the banner of community participation in conservation projects and state forestry. On a day-to-day basis, these rangers help the foresters with the management of the natural resources on the one hand, and guide tourists, especially in the hunting concessions, on the other. They occupy ambiguous positions at the crossroads of conservationist, state, political, economic, spiritual, social, and cultural practices, inherent to their conservation occupations at the lowest echelon, where residents have to transform conservation policies into practices. It is precisely this ambiguity that turns out to ensure the conservation implementation.
  3,472 619 1
Hope for Resurrecting a Functionally Extinct Parrot or Squandered Social Capital? Landholder Attitudes Towards the Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) in Victoria, Australia
Michael A Weston, Kelly K Miller, Justin Lawson, Glenn C Ehmke
October-December 2012, 10(4):381-385
In early 2010, after 27 years of recovery effort, the orange-bellied parrot (OBP; Neophema chrysogaster) was expected to be extinct in the wild within a few years. Shortly before the imminent wild extinction became evident, we surveyed landholders (114 responses of 783 surveys delivered) in part of the main non-breeding area, according to three classes of modelled habitat suitability ('high', 'medium', and 'low'). Predictions of the habitat models appear to correlate with landholder perceptions of the presence of OBP habitat on private land, thus the models appear a tractable way to identify key stakeholders worthy of priority consultation in relation to habitat works. Landholders were sympathetic to wetlands and birds, including OBPs (89.4% were aware of OBPs). Most indicated that they would be upset if the OBP went extinct and agreed that critical habitat should be protected; 80.7% were prepared to consider changes to the way they managed their land to benefit the species, and sought more information on how they could do so (64.0%). This study suggests that the habitat model usefully identified key stakeholders and the OBP enjoyed high awareness, concern, and engagement among many stakeholders, shortly before the species was considered functionally extinct. The maintenance of landholder support is likely to be critical if future attempts are made to reintroduce the species to the wild.
  3,058 400 3