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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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   2015| April-June  | Volume 13 | Issue 2  
    Online since September 2, 2015

 
 
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ARTICLES
Defining Solutions, Finding Problems: Deforestation, Gender, and REDD+ in Burkina Faso
Lisa Westholm, Seema Arora-Jonsson
April-June 2015, 13(2):189-199
DOI:10.4103/0972-4923.164203  
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) is a policy instrument meant to mitigate climate change while also achieving poverty reduction in tropical countries. It has garnered critics for homogenising environmental and development governance and for ignoring how similar efforts have tended to exacerbate gender inequalities. Nonetheless, regarding such schemes as inevitable, some feminists argue for requirements that include women's empowerment and participation. In this paper we move beyond discussions about safeguards and examine whether the very framing of REDD+ programs can provide openings for a transformation as argued for by its proponents. Following the REDD+ policy process in Burkina Faso, we come to two important insights: REDD+ is a solution in need of a problem. Assumptions about gender are at the heart of creating 'actionable knowledge' that enabled REDD+ to be presented as a policy solution to the problems of deforestation, poverty and gender inequality. Second, despite its 'safeguards', REDD+ appears to be perpetuating gendered divisions of labour, as formal environmental decision-making moves upwards; and responsibility and the burden of actual environmental labour shifts further down in particularly gendered ways. We explore how this is enabled by the development of policies whose stated aims are to tackle inequalities.
  7,320 580 -
SPECIAL SECTION: PROTECTING AN AFRICAN EDEN?: CONSERVATIONISTS, COMMUNITIES, AND COLLABORATION IN MOZAMBIQUE
Narrative Fortresses: Crisis Narratives and Conflict in the Conservation of Mount Gorongosa, Mozambique
Christy Schuetze
April-June 2015, 13(2):141-153
DOI:10.4103/0972-4923.164193  
A single narrative about the Gorongosa Restoration Project (GRP) in Mozambique circulates widely in the popular media. This story characterises the project as an innovative intervention into an ecological crisis situation. The narrative hails the project's aim to use profits from tourism to address the goals of both human development and conservation of biodiversity, and portrays the park project as widely embraced by long-term residents. This representation helps the project attract broad acclaim, donor funding, and socially conscious visitors, yet it obscures the early emergence of unified opposition to the project's interventions among long-term residents of Gorongosa Mountain. This article draws on ethnographic research conducted on Gorongosa Mountain between 2006 and 2008 to examine the project's early activities there. I examine two crisis narratives that led to entrenched conflict between park-based actors and mountain residents. Focusing on the emergence and solidification of divergent narratives-narrative fortresses-about the extension of the park's activities to Gorongosa Mountain offers insight into the powerful role of crisis narratives in producing and maintaining conflict, leading to outcomes counter to the desires of conservationists. Ultimately, the article points to ways in which narratives of environmental crisis work against aspirations of partnership and collaboration with resident populations in conservation and development schemes.
  6,870 903 -
ARTICLES
Towards an Explicit Justice Framing of the Social Impacts of Conservation
Adrian Martin, Anne Akol, Nicole Gross-Camp
April-June 2015, 13(2):166-178
DOI:10.4103/0972-4923.164200  
This paper proposes that biodiversity conservation practice will benefit from assessment of environmental justice outcomes, especially in contexts of poverty and social marginalisation. Whilst there is an existing body of work that implicitly considers the justices and injustices arising from biodiversity conservation interventions, we suggest that a more explicit justice assessment might complement this work. We develop some general guidelines for such assessment, drawing on traditions of social and environmental justice, highlighting the importance of considering two types of justice outcome: distribution and recognition. We note the non-equivalence of these different justice values, implying that they cannot be traded-off against each other. We try out these guidelines through a case study of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. We find that the assessment helps us to identify intolerable social impacts of conservation, notably failures to adequately address the long-term impoverishment and domination of the indigenous Batwa people, and offers constructive insight for how conservation can better align with the need for environmental justice.
  4,726 1,029 -
Conservation Policy Making in Nepal: Problematising the Politics of Civic Resistance
Ramesh Kumar Sunam, Dipak Bishwokarma, Kumar Bahadur Darjee
April-June 2015, 13(2):179-188
DOI:10.4103/0972-4923.164201  
Protected area governance has witnessed a shift from a strict-nature conservation model towards a seemingly more participatory approach in Nepal. Despite some progress, top-down and non-deliberative processes characterise policy making in protected area. However, many civil society actors have increasingly challenged the government to provide space for local people in decision making so that their rights to natural resources are considered. This article examines two key aspects of the politics of policy process: why conservation policy making is often less deliberative than it could be and why civil actors pick up some policy decisions (not others) for contestation. In doing so, we analyse a recent policy decision of the Nepal government on the protected area which encountered civic contestation. Drawing on the review of policy decisions and interviews with government authorities, civic leaders and protected area experts, this paper shows that the government and large conservation organisations continue to shape the policy process while undermining the legitimate voices of local and non-state actors in the conservation policy landscape. Civic resistance as a means of democratising policy processes looks promising, challenging unquestioned authorities of the government and conservation organisations. Nevertheless, the politics of resistance has enjoyed limited success due to the political interests of civic institutions and their leaders, at times overshadowing critical policy agenda such as the severity of rights constrained and issues of poverty and marginalisation. This article suggests that civic actors need to rethink over their politics of resistance in terms of pursuing agenda and strategies to ramp up policy deliberation.
  4,363 801 -
Whose Threat Counts? Conservation Narratives in the Wakatobi National Park, Indonesia
Franciska von Heland, Julian Clifton
April-June 2015, 13(2):154-165
DOI:10.4103/0972-4923.164194  
The ongoing global decline of coral reefs and their associated fisheries highlights issues of governance, including contrasting interpretations of the marine environment, the drivers and agents of environmental degradation, and the appropriate actions to address these. It is therefore essential to understand the social practices of value articulation through which marine ecosystems and resources are assigned meaning and recognition. In this regard, narratives identifying 'which aspects of the environment should be made resilient', 'to what threats', and 'through which solutions' are particularly important. Such narratives may fundamentally alter marine governance by defining which knowledge counts, steering conservation activities toward certain goals, and assigning people with new identities. We explore these issues in the context of a marine national park in eastern Indonesia, where the key narratives revolve around values associated with high coral reef biodiversity. International and domestic conservation-oriented organisations promote a narrative describing the park as a success story exemplifying co-management and equality in decision-making. Furthermore, a narrative emphasising illegal fishing by outsiders creates an adversarial scenario that favours certain more powerful institutions and subsumes competing narratives emanating from disadvantaged ethnic minorities. We suggest that these narratives reflect critical issues of governance, including resource allocation, management practices, stakeholder relations, and influence conservation outcomes by favouring the protection of some species, ecosystems, and sites over others.
  3,731 647 -
SPECIAL SECTION: PROTECTING AN AFRICAN EDEN?: CONSERVATIONISTS, COMMUNITIES, AND COLLABORATION IN MOZAMBIQUE
Producing Gorongosa: Space and the Environmental Politics of Degradation in Mozambique
Michael Madison Walker
April-June 2015, 13(2):129-140
DOI:10.4103/0972-4923.164192  
This article examines the spatial production of the greater Gorongosa ecosystem, linking the production of space with scientific discourses on environmental degradation. Ecological research conducted in Gorongosa National Park (GNP) in the 1960s established the spatial contours and produced the greater Gorongosa ecosystem that is continually under threat from Mozambican cultivators. This discursive production and its material effects obscure a long history of human occupancy and transformation of the landscape that is now categorised as a national park. The use of aerial surveys and satellite imagery by conservationists to chart biophysical changes in the landscape is central to the spatial production of the greater Gorongosa ecosystem. The knowledge produced through these ways of seeing the landscape is used to justify various socio-technical and legal interventions to protect the environment. Through analysing the discourse on human-induced environmental degradation in GNP between 2005 and 2010, I suggest that when nature and space are taken as self evident by conservation practitioners, there is a danger of reproducing narratives of environmental degradation that simplify historically dynamic interactions between people, institutions, and their biophysical surroundings, and serve as further justification for intervening in the lives and livelihoods of adjacent residents.
  3,541 574 -
SHORT COMMUNICATION
Conservation Narratives and Their Implications in the Coral Triangle Initiative
Samantha Berdej, Mark Andrachuk, Derek Armitage
April-June 2015, 13(2):212-220
DOI:10.4103/0972-4923.164208  
Conserving coral reefs, sustaining fisheries, and ensuring food security are multi-faceted challenges. Six nations in the Southeast Asia Coral Triangle have agreed to a region-wide framework to address these challenges through the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI). Based on a review of documentation, selected discussions and ongoing work in the region, we offer an initial assessment of narratives influencing conservation practice in the CTI. Current efforts in the CTI are framed by a crisis narrative that emphasises the importance of maintaining critical ecosystems and baseline conditions. This narrative has a strong empirical basis but it can also exacerbate a dualistic view of people and nature. However, CTI documentation and programming also reflect a recognition of linked social-ecological change and the historical co-evolution of communities and coastal-marine systems. This emerging narrative places an emphasis on building resilience to change, rather than resisting change. We do not advocate here for a single narrative with which to frame policy responses in the CTI, but rather draw attention to the ways that mainstreaming of certain narratives will have material effects on initiatives and programmes promoted in this region of globally significant marine biodiversity.
  3,170 689 -
SPECIAL SECTION: PROTECTING AN AFRICAN EDEN?: CONSERVATIONISTS, COMMUNITIES, AND COLLABORATION IN MOZAMBIQUE
Conservation Philanthropy and the Shadow of State Power in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique
Rozenn Nakanabo Diallo
April-June 2015, 13(2):119-128
DOI:10.4103/0972-4923.164188  
Transnational networks of donors, NGOs, private foundations, and companies shape conservation policymaking in Mozambique. In a context of neoliberal conservation that frames a reduction of the role of the state, policymaking is not the sole purpose of state agencies and thus questions state sovereignty. This article addresses state agency in a conservation philanthropy project in central Mozambique. The Gorongosa Restoration Project (GRP) is a public-private partnership between the state and the Carr Foundation, an American philanthropic organisation, for the management of Gorongosa National Park. The Frelimo state-at the head of the country ever since independence in 1975-is still rather weak in Gorongosa region, an opposition stronghold. State sovereignty is reformulated, for GRP is greatly externally driven and performs state functions such as the running of a state-owned national park. But in spite of weak state capacities, state sovereignty remains at the forefront: central and local state are key for daily conservation management, and the philanthropic apparatus is an opportunity for the state to further its local presence and control in the hinterland.
  2,994 697 -
ARTICLES
The Neutral State: A Genealogy of Ecosystem Service Payments in Costa Rica
David M Lansing, Kevin Grove, Jennifer L Rice
April-June 2015, 13(2):200-211
DOI:10.4103/0972-4923.164206  
Using the case of Costa Rica, this paper examines how 'carbon' became an identifiable problem for that state. We trace how, during the 1980s, rationalities of financialisation and security arose in this country that allowed for Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) to emerge as an economic and political mechanism. Our central thesis is: this period initiated a government project of securing a viable future for the nation's resources by linking them to global financial markets and international trade. This project of achieving resource security through economic circulation introduced new financial logics into forest management, as well as new modes of calculating the value and extent of the forest. These ways of framing resources found expression in the nation's PES programme that is now central to the state's goal of achieving carbon neutrality. Today, Costa Rica's carbon flows are becoming territorialised as part of the nation's atmosphere, biomass, people, and economy. This paper shows how carbon's territorialisation did not begin with a concern for the climate, nor did it occur through diffusion of global climate policy to Costa Rica. Instead, carbon's rise can be traced to locally specific ways of coping with the problem of resource security.
  2,499 370 -
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