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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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   2014| January-March  | Volume 12 | Issue 1  
    Online since May 8, 2014

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Wild and Valuable? Tourist Values for Orang-utan Conservation in Sarawak
Kerstin K Zander, Sing Tyan Pang, Christina Jinam, Andrew Alek Tuen, Stephen T Garnett
January-March 2014, 12(1):27-42
Fluffy, orange and endearing, orang-utans have won the hearts of people all over the world. However, all sub-species are endangered in the wild with the Bornean orang-utan population having declined by more than 50% over the past 60 years. Fewer than 2,000 wild orang-utans remain in Sarawak with nearly all truly wild ones confined to a remote site on the Indonesian border. Yet each year thousands of tourists and local Sarawak people see orang-utans semi-wild in a reserve or captive in a rehabilitation centre. We investigated the attitudes of such tourists towards the conservation of the remaining wild populations by means of questionnaires, including a choice experiment. Sixty percent of the respondents were, in principle, willing to pay to ensure survival of a wild orang-utan population. International tourists tended to regard wild survival as being more important than having a high probability of seeing orang-utans personally-indeed they preferred wild orang-utans to be hard to find. Malaysian tourists were more inclined to favour investment in the small number of captive or semi-wild animals. Using conservative judgements of the difference between stated and real willingness-to-pay, we estimated that about USD 6.6 million per year could be made available to wild orang-utan conservation from voluntary contributions by visitors to the semi-wild animals. We also estimated that the 40% of visitors to these facilities who come to Sarawak primarily because of the apes, bring between USD 13 and USD 23 million into the local economy each year through their expenditure on local businesses, about 0.6% of the income earned by Sarawak from timber products. Our results suggest that far fewer would come if there were no wild orang-utans in Sarawak. Thus the value of wild orang-utans in Sarawak can be delivered through the captive facilities but the economic benefits from orang-utans require both captive and wild orang-utans.
  6,531 744 2
Personal Moral Norms and Attitudes Toward Endangered Species Policies on Private Land
Leigh Raymond, Laura U Schneider
January-March 2014, 12(1):1-15
Research across multiple disciplines has shown that personal moral norms can play an important role in shaping individuals' attitudes and behaviour. Despite this, we know relatively little about patterns of support among landowners for either a personal moral norm favouring a strong, 'intrinsic' right of private ownership, or a moral duty to prevent extinction. In addition, we know even less about the ability of such norms to predict attitudes toward species protection on private lands, especially for non-charismatic species with few qualities that typically generate positive attitudes for conservation. Results from a mail survey of central Indiana landowners suggest broad support for a personal moral norm favouring a strong, 'intrinsic' right of ownership as well as a personal moral norm to prevent extinction, and that these norms are better predictors of attitudes toward endangered species policies than partisan identification, identification as an environmentalist, strong religious beliefs, or several other demographic factors. The results suggest that those seeking to influence landowner attitudes toward species protection policies should pay closer attention to the influence of these personal moral norms.
  4,581 726 -
Disputed Land Rights and Conservation-led Displacement: A Double Whammy on the Poor
Lai Ming Lam, Saumik Paul
January-March 2014, 12(1):65-76
The practice of conservation through displacement has become commonplace in developing countries. However, resettlement programs remain at very low standards as government policies only focus on economic-based compensation which often excludes socially and economically marginalised groups. In this paper, based on a case study of the displaced indigenous people, the Rana Tharus, from the Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve in Nepal, we argue that compensation as a panacea is a myth as it does not effectively replace the loss of livelihoods. This is particularly the case when the indigenous community's customary rights to land are not legally protected. Our ethnographic data support the contention that the history of social exclusion is rooted in the land reform and settlement policies, which deprived the Rana Tharus of proper land rights. The present land compensation scheme resulted in a 'double whammy' on indigenous forest dwellers. The legal land title holders on average received less than 60% of their land. Moreover, due to the poor quality of soil in the resettlement areas the average crop yield was less than half the quantity produced before displacement. While economic indicators show widespread impoverishment with less food security, low agricultural productivity, and landlessness, social indicators suggest depletion of social capital in the resettled communities where there are less job opportunities and less social networks. Our study indicates that along with compensation, the concept of 'livelihood restoration' should also be fully implemented in any resettlement program to prevent further impoverishment.
  4,591 582 3
Improving Conservation Community Group Effectiveness Using Mind Mapping and Action Research
Hanabeth Luke, David Lloyd, William Boyd, Kristin den Exter
January-March 2014, 12(1):43-53
This paper examines a case study where mind mapping is used within an action research project to foster improved community group effectiveness and decision-making. The case study focusses on the social dynamics experienced during the formative stage of a community action group in Byron Bay, New South Wales; one of a network of such groups, formed to ensure that sustainable environmental management practices are followed in proposed coal-seam gas developments. In the context of examining systemic social interactions within such a group, the study recognises both the importance of communication and the susceptibility of individuals to certain behavioural patterns. Negative emergent norms led to excessive behaviours that threatened to hinder effective communication and group behaviour. Use of mind mapping countered this negative tendency, focussing the inherent positive qualities of the group, and thus enabling more efficient decision-making. Shown to be an effective tool for overcoming communication barriers and increasing cohesion; its power lies in maintaining process transparency, removing power-structures and ego-centric personal barriers, hence facilitating effective communal knowledge sharing, clarification, idea crystallisation, and planning.
  3,891 626 2
Forest Conservation Policy Implementation Gaps: Consequences for the Management of Hollow-bearing Trees in Australia
Donna Louise Treby, James Guy Castley, Jean-Marc Hero
January-March 2014, 12(1):16-26
Hollow-bearing trees in native forests and woodlands are significant habitat resources for many Australian fauna but habitat removal, commercial timber harvesting and urban development continue to threaten these ecosystems. Protection for these habitats and their species is purportedly provided for in legislation, policy, and strategic management plans. However, public debate and disagreement surrounding forest management has resulted in the disintegration of national plans as interpreted by states and territories as well as individual stakeholders, resulting in gaps in policy implementation. This paper presents a hierarchical review of the current legislation and policy mechanisms underpinning forest conservation in Australia, with specific attention paid to important habitat features such as hollow-bearing trees. Apart from federal and state legislation acknowledging the importance of hollow-bearing trees to biodiversity, sufficient mechanisms to halt the ongoing loss of this resource from Australian landscapes at the local level appear to be lacking. Hollow-bearing tree conservation strategies from 46 local councils in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, and Queensland were reviewed. Very few (<5%) respondents from local councils across all states indicated that they have specific plans for the conservation and management of hollow-bearing trees, highlighting policy implementation gaps at the local level. Furthermore, apparent environmental management strategies and actions rank relatively low on local council priorities. Therefore, a stronger focus on conservation actions towards management of critical habitat features across the landscape supported by robust local, national, and international policy is needed.
  3,515 504 1
Settling Indigenous Claims to Protected Areas: Weighing Māori Aspirations Against Australian Experiences
Phil O'B. Lyver, Jocelyn Davies, Robert B Allen
January-March 2014, 12(1):89-106
Efforts to resolve indigenous peoples' grievances about the negative impacts of protected areas established on their customary estates by governments are driving the development of shared governance and management. The Tϋhoe people have sought that the settlement of their grievances against the New Zealand government include unencumbered rights to manage Te Urewera, guided by scientific and traditional knowledge and practices, for conservation and social benefits for the Tϋhoe people and the broader public. We led a study tour to allow Tϋhoe and other Mβori representatives to gain first-hand experience of long-standing jointly managed protected areas in Australia that the New Zealand government had drawn on in proposing mechanisms to resolve the Tϋhoe claim. We found that these areas were a poor fit to the study tour participants' aspirations that indigenous world views would underpin governance and that indigenous people would be empowered. Our findings highlight that settlement must be transformational in terms of attitudes and relationships. Collaborative problem-solving processes that build trust can contribute. In areas like Te Urewera, where tenure boundaries fragment a landscape that is a coherent whole in indigenous world views, settlement processes can offer the prospect of landscape-scale outcomes for social justice and conservation.
  3,350 580 1
Weeds and Wildlife: Perceptions and Practices of Weed Managers
Emma H Carlos, Maria Gibson, Michael A Weston
January-March 2014, 12(1):54-64
Negative impacts of invasive plants or weeds on biodiversity have been well established yet their role in providing key habitats and resources for wildlife has been little understood. Weed removal thus has the potential to adversely affect wildlife but whether this is considered during weed management is poorly known. To determine the extent of this knowledge, we examined the perceptions of weed managers regarding wildlife and weed management in Victoria, Australia. We surveyed 81 weed managers of varying levels of experience from different types of organisations, including state and local government, community groups and private companies. We found 90% of managers had observed wildlife-weed interactions and that most (70%) adjusted management programmes to accommodate wildlife. Despite this, few (19%) had adopted the recommended practice of combining gradual weed removal with re-vegetation. While management programmes included monitoring of native vegetation, consideration of wildlife monitoring in weed management was rare. This highlights the need for management to better understand and respond to wildlife-weed relationships. If the improvement of wildlife habitat is included in the objectives of weed programmes, as it should be, then wildlife should also be incorporated in project monitoring. This would lead to a greater understanding of the role weeds and their management have in each situation and, ultimately, more informed decision making.
  2,992 441 1
Gender and Green Governance: The Political Economy of Women's Presence Within and Beyond Community Forestry
Kiran Asher
January-March 2014, 12(1):107-108
  1,989 402 -
Constructing Conservation Impact: Understanding Monitoring and Evaluation in Conservation NGOs
Catherine Benson Wahlén
January-March 2014, 12(1):77-88
A growing number of scholars critically examine large conservation organisations to explore organisational intentions, practices, and outcomes. In parallel, other scholars have problematised audit cultures, suggesting that these seemingly good practices of evaluation and measurement are not neutral and instead have consequences for governance and power. This article combines literature on conservation NGOs, organisational theory, and audit culture to study the inner workings of conservation and to understand the construction of effectiveness and impact. I draw on semi-structured interviews to examine how a large, international conservation organisation, which I term the World Conservation Organisation (WCO; a pseudonym), coordinates monitoring and evaluation (M&E) processes among its international, national, and local offices. I find individual staff within WCO make varying assumptions about the M&E policies and place different values on M&E, which results in different institutional logics towards M&E and a broader organisational failure to measure progress and reflect upon outcomes. The findings also show difficulties in translating broad organisational goals into specific project activities, underscoring tensions in implementation and limitations in M&E practice. I also find that organisational and managerial pressure to report success is greater than donor pressure, a finding that expands understandings of NGO-donor dynamics.
  1,687 364 -