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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| April-June  | Volume 12 | Issue 2  
    Online since August 8, 2014

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Seafood Banquets in Beijing: Consumer Perspectives and Implications for Environmental Sustainability
Michael Fabinyi, Neng Liu
April-June 2014, 12(2):218-228
Understanding the social drivers of increased seafood consumption in China, such as consumer perspectives in banquets, will be crucial if practical strategies to introduce sustainability into this market are to be successfully implemented. Based on 34 semi-structured interviews with key informants including seafood restaurant operators, seafood consumers and seafood traders, this study investigated seafood consumer attitudes and behaviours in Beijing seafood restaurants. The results and discussion is divided into sections that address the popularity and reasons behind the popularity of: 1) seafood banquets in general; 2) fish at banquets; 3) other forms of seafood at banquets; and 4) preferred characteristics and qualities of seafood at banquets. The consumption of certain types of seafood such as live reef fish and sea cucumber is becoming increasingly popular, while the consumption of shark fin is decreasing in popularity. Awareness and concern about sustainability and traceability issues were relatively low, and more significant themes for understanding consumer preferences about seafood include social status and prestige, food safety and quality, and health and nutrition. The paper concludes by demonstrating the implications for market-based interventions and government regulation.
  6,480 773 6
Everyone's Solution? Defining and Redefining Protected Areas at the Convention on Biological Diversity
Catherine Corson, Rebecca Gruby, Rebecca Witter, Shannon Hagerman, Daniel Suarez, Shannon Greenberg, Maggie Bourque, Noella Gray, Lisa M Campbell
April-June 2014, 12(2):190-202
For decades, conservationists have remained steadfastly committed to protected areas (PAs) as the best means to conserve biodiversity. Using Collaborative Event Ethnography of the 10 th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD/CoP), we examine how the PA concept remains hegemonic in conservation policy. We argue that, as a broadening base of actors frame their political objectives through PAs in order to further their agendas, they come together in a discourse coalition. In this coalition, actors do not necessarily have common interests or understandings; rather, it is through dynamic struggles over the meaning of the PA concept and the continual process of reshaping it that actors reproduce its hegemony. In this process, the CBD/CoP disciplines and aligns disparate actors who might otherwise associate with distinct discourse coalitions. As the concept accommodates a wider range of values, PAs are increasingly being asked to do more than conserve biodiversity. They must also sequester carbon, protect ecosystem services, and even promote human rights. These transformations reflect not only changes in how PAs are defined and framed, but also in the realignment of relationships of authority and power in conservation governance in ways that may marginalise traditional conservation actors.
  5,232 779 2
The Diverse Properties of Private Land Conservation in Chile: Growth and Barriers to Private Protected Areas in a Market-friendly Context
David R Tecklin, Claudia Sepulveda
April-June 2014, 12(2):203-217
Private land conservation and many other contemporary environmental practices and policies are commonly described as 'market-based' or 'market-driven.' We argue that this characterisation derives in part from a conflation of private property rights with markets, and that it can obscure the diversity of institutional logics, practices, and political dynamics involved in conservation. We seek to illustrate this diversity through an analysis of private protected areas (PPA) in Chile. Through the experiences of different types of protected areas, as well as the related policy debates, we explore the ideological, political, and institutional conflicts and barriers to private land conservation within a legal and policy framework widely considered to be market friendly. Based on the diverse qualities of property rights observed in conservation projects we suggest the need for a critical environmental research agenda focussed on this neglected form of institutional diversity.
  4,906 529 -
A New 'Conservation Space'? Protected Areas, Environmental Economic Activities and Discourses in Two Yucatán Biosphere Reserves in Mexico
Sabrina Doyon, Catherine Sabinot
April-June 2014, 12(2):133-146
This article examines some of the local socioeconomic repercussions of two biosphere reserves on the Yucatán Peninsula-Ría Celestún and Ría Lagartos. We analyse aspects of the relationship that the residents of the six villages located within the two reserves have with their environment, by examining both the 'environmental economic activities' residents are involved in and their discourses on, and interpretations of, the notion of environment and the conservation precepts put forward by the biosphere reserves. Our research explores how the objectives of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's Man and Biosphere Programme, disseminated by biosphere reserves, are put into practice on the ground. In particular, we look at how environmental economic activities are experienced and practised without necessarily being accompanied by the integration, acceptance, and internalisation of conservation principles-and how these activities contribute, or fail to contribute, to the crystallisation of a new 'conservation space'.
  4,468 783 -
Introduction: Between Capitalism, the State, and the Grassroots: Mexico's Contribution to a Global Conservation Debate
Nora Haenn, Elizabeth A Olson, Jose E Martinez-Reyes, Leticia Durand
April-June 2014, 12(2):111-119
This introduction situates Mexico in the research on conservation and society, illustrating some nuances and characteristics of the Mexican model of biodiversity conservation in relation to neoliberal economic development and state formation. The paper critiques the way neoliberalism has become a common framework to understand conservation's social practices. Drawing on the ethnographies collected in this special section, the paper considers the importance of state formation and disorganised neoliberalism as intertwined phenomena that explain conservation outcomes. This approach lends itself to the papers' ethnographic descriptions that demonstrate a particular Mexican form of conservation that sits alongside a globalised biodiversity conservation apparatus. The introduction presents some additional analytical interpretations: 1) conservation strategies rooted in profit-driven models are precarious; 2) empirical cases show the expansion of both state structures and capitalist markets via conservation; and 3) non-capitalist approaches to conservation merit greater consideration.
  4,233 895 -
Conch, Cooperatives, and Conflict: Conservation and Resistance in the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve
David M Hoffman
April-June 2014, 12(2):120-132
In theory, biosphere reserves link biodiversity conservation with development, primarily through sustainable resource utilisation, and alternative, conservation-compatible economies in the buffer and transition zones outside the core area. Successful management should reduce pressure on natural resources within its core area as well as enable local communities to participate in the management of buffer zone resources in a sustainable manner. The Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve was declared in 1996 to protect coral reefs and marine biodiversity, while also enabling fishing cooperatives to maintain their livelihoods based upon the sustainable extraction of lobster, conch, and scalefish. In 2004, eight years after the Reserve's declaration, Mexican authorities struggled to control marine resource use in the reserve, especially the extraction of queen conch (Strombus gigas). This article provides an overview of the long struggle to conserve queen conch populations in the area. Particular attention is paid to describing the various forms of resistance fishermen employed to counter the increasing regulation and vigilance that accompanied the creation of the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve. This case chronicles the resistance to regulation and interpersonal violence that erupts when entrenched attitudes and practices are confronted with increasing surveillance. Thus, what was observed in the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve parallels other research that depicts the forms of resistance to conservation that local people enact when confronted with conservation interventions. Finally, the plight of queen conch in the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve clearly reflects the conflicts and difficulties found across Mexico in the implementation of the biosphere reserve model.
  4,042 932 -
Beyond Nature Appropriation: Towards Post-development Conservation in the Maya Forest
Jose E Martinez-Reyes
April-June 2014, 12(2):162-174
The establishment of biosphere reserves in Mexico was followed by alternative livelihood conservation/development projects to integrate indigenous groups into Western style conservation under the idea of sustainable development and participation. In this paper, I discuss the outcomes of two forest wildlife management projects in one Maya community along the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve in the state of Quintana Roo. Both projects ultimately failed and the community mobilised and expelled the NGO from the community. I argue that the failure of these projects involved two dynamics: 1) lack of coherence between the objectives of state agencies, conservation NGOs, and the local community; and 2) unequal ethnic relations, reproducing relations of colonial inequality and dictating how indigenous groups can participate in managing a territory for conservation. If collaboration and local participation are key in conservation management programs, these case studies suggest that greater institutional accountability and community autonomy are needed to make the practice of conservation more democratic and participatory. The expulsion of the NGO as a conservation and development broker also opened the space for, and possibilities of, post-development conservation practice that challenges the normalising expectations of Western biodiversity conservation.
  3,889 647 3
Territorialisation, Conservation, and Neoliberalism in the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve, Mexico
Alison Elizabeth Lee
April-June 2014, 12(2):147-161
The territorialisation of a botanical garden and the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve (TCBR) in southern Mexico is examined from the perspective of local residents of one rural town and the biologists whose professional careers involved extensive research in the region. While there were brief periods of conflict between residents and outsiders over the use of local lands for conservation, the cumulative effects demonstrate a general acceptance of the conservation paradigm. Local residents re-appropriated an older discourse linking their land rights to indigenous ancestors in order to mobilise collective support to ensure local control of the botanical garden. The discourse was subsequently incorporated into a local ecotourism project providing cultural substance complementary to the biological and visual aspects of the landscape. Contradictions between conservation and livelihoods were minimal due to neoliberal policies that encouraged migration to the United States of America and wage work in regional maquiladoras. Consequently, the territorialisation of conservation spaces was not disruptive to the increasingly proletarianised, non-agricultural livelihoods of local residents.
  3,987 504 -
Inclusion and Exclusion in Participation Strategies in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, Chiapas, Mexico
Leticia Durand, Fernanda Figueroa, Tim Trench
April-June 2014, 12(2):175-189
Since the 1970s, community participation has become central in biodiversity conservation initiatives, mainly as a strategy for integrating the needs and interests of the populations living in and around protected areas (PAs), and to enhance local social development. Nevertheless, institutionalised participation is usually conceived as a means to attain the goals of conservation initiatives. Although important efforts have been made to construct participatory processes, these are designed and implemented in ways that produce exclusion. In this study, we analyse the exclusion processes produced in the consultation workshops developed to evaluate and update the Conservation and Management Programme (CMP) of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (MABR), and in the Reserve's Advisory Council (Consejo Asesor) meetings. Our analysis is based on the observation of two workshops, the revision of workshop reports, interviews with institutional officials, and the participation of one of us in the Advisory Council of the MABR as a councillor. We show that participatory processes for incorporating local population's views and perspectives into decision-making processes still face important challenges. We highlight the importance of acknowledging, and attending to, the processes of exclusion generated by the mechanisms themselves, despite being implemented to include local communities.
  3,722 582 -