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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| October-December  | Volume 13 | Issue 4  
    Online since April 8, 2016

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Emergence of Species Conservation in Finland: Development of Wildlife Attitudes in 1894-1928
Sakari Mykrä, Timo Vuorisalo, Mari Pohja-Mykrä
October-December 2015, 13(4):323-331
Finnish hunters, animal welfarists, and scientists started getting organised in the later half of the nineteenth century. In doing so, they became interest groups in wildlife conservation issues, as they began to express their views in public media. Wildlife related coverage published in relevant journals around the turn of the twentieth century shows the emergence of conservation thinking in these groups. The most profound effort was put in protection of 'small birds'; this happened due to not only their usefulness in farming but also their sheer aesthetic value. The data further showed that the dichotomising of wildlife into 'useful' and 'pest' in the contemporary law texts was not fully consistent with the public opinion at the time. During the 1890s, all examined groups emphasised the importance of protecting certain rodent-eating raptors, but this view did not take any shape in the law reform of 1898. The emerging conservation-mindedness of these groups did not, however, apply to the most 'harmful' pests; the attitudes of, not only hunters, but also average animal welfarists, naturalists or professional zoologists towards many species in the pest category were not yet particularly positive at the turn of the century.
  1,066 8,799 -
How Stakeholder Co-management Reproduces Conservation Conflicts: Revealing Rationality Problems in Swedish Wolf Conservation
Erica von Essen, Hans Peter Hansen
October-December 2015, 13(4):332-344
'Stakeholder' has become the primary category of political actor in decision-making, not least within nature conservation. Drawing from Habermas' theory on communicative action, this article argues that there are democratic deficits to the stakeholder model that promote citizens to remain locked in predetermined, polarized positions. It contends that the stakeholder model must, hence, be scrutinized with respect to its potential role in perpetuating conservation conflicts in modernity. Using the case study of stakeholder-based game management delegations (GMDs) in Sweden, our research identifies four barriers, which tie to the instrumental basis and liberal democratic legacy of the stakeholder approach: 1) strong sense of accountability; 2) overly purposive atmosphere; 3) overemphasis on decision as final outcome; and 4) perceived inability on the part of the delegates to influence science-led decision-making. The article suggests that these democratic deficits preclude the deliberation and contestation necessary to legitimate conservation policy. Indeed, stakeholder rationality causes citizens to become inert, instrumental agents who approach discussion with strategic rather than communicative rationality. We conclude that the deficits of the stakeholder model currently: 1) restrict democratic freedom for citizens; 2) engender a crisis of legitimacy of management; and 3) reproduce the conflict, which in Sweden relates to the conservation of wolves.
  5,958 3,759 -
Conservation Meets Militarisation in Kruger National Park: Historical Encounters and Complex Legacies
Elizabeth Lunstrum
October-December 2015, 13(4):356-369
Drawing on environmental history and political ecology, this paper contributes to growing debates concerning military-environment encounters and conservation militarisation/securitisation by investigating the complex histories and legacies of these relations. Grounding my insights in South Africa's iconic Kruger National Park, I chart how encounters between environment and military/security activity over the last century offer a repeatedly contradictory picture: military activity, skills, and weapons have harmed wildlife and hence reinforced the need for its protection, and they have simultaneously been deployed in the name of such protection. Furthermore, some of these historical engagements failed to materialise as planned and, as such, provide insight into military-environment frictions as well as nature's ability to thwart militarised interventions. Yet other engagements thrived and resulted in the multi-layered militarisation of Kruger, as both protected area and strategic borderland. Several of these encounters have lived on to shape Kruger's current intensive militarisation tied to rhino poaching, both the state response and poaching itself. Past military activity, in fact, provides an arsenal of enabling factors for current poaching- and conservation-related militarised violence that ultimately proves harmful to conservation efforts.
  3,630 1,065 -
Can Payments for Environmental Services Strengthen Social Capital, Encourage Distributional Equity, and Reduce Poverty?
Lindsey Roland Nieratkaa, David Barton Bray, Pallab Mozumder
October-December 2015, 13(4):345-355
This study examines the relationship between the Mexican payment for environmental services (PES) programme, social capital and collective action, equity in distribution of benefits, and poverty alleviation in a case study in the Sierra Norte region of the state of Oaxaca. We address these issues with a household survey in two communities; and survey and ethnographic data on the six-community organisation - the Natural Resource Committee of the Upper Chinantla (CORENCHI). We suggest that the Mexican common property agrarian system greatly facilitates payments to entire communities of rights holders who then have the potential to build on existing social capital through having to make decisions about the use of their common property. Much of the work on social capital, distributional equity, and poverty alleviation has been theoretical or speculative but our study provides empirical support for part of this work. We find that PES in these communities has strengthened social capital and collective action, including in the emergence of regional collective action in the inter-community organisation. We also find that the PES payments are perceived as fair by the communities because of the high degree of participation in distributional policies, with a modest positive effect on a multidimensional measure of poverty.
  2,451 2,052 -
How Does Cultural Change Affect Indigenous Peoples' Hunting Activity? An Empirical Study Among the Tsimane' in the Bolivian Amazon
Ana Catarina Luz, Maximilien Guèze, Jaime Paneque-Gálvez, Joan Pino, Manuel J Macía, Martí Orta-Martínez, Victoria Reyes-García
October-December 2015, 13(4):382-394
Wildlife hunting is an important economic activity that contributes to the subsistence of indigenous peoples and the maintenance of their cultural identity. Changes in indigenous peoples' ways of life affect the way they manage the ecosystems and resources around them, including wildlife populations. This paper explores the relationship between cultural change, or detachment from traditional culture, and hunting behaviour among the Tsimane', an indigenous group in the Bolivian Amazon. We interviewed 344 hunters in 39 villages to estimate their hunting activity and the degree of cultural change among them. We used multilevel analyses to assess the relationships between three different proxies for cultural change at the individual level (schooling, visits to a market town, and detachment from tradition), and the following two independent variables: 1) probability of engaging in hunting (i.e., hunting activity) and 2) hunting efficiency with catch per unit effort (CPUE). We found a statistically significant negative association between schooling and hunting activity. Hunting efficiency (CPUE biomass/km) was positively associated with visits to a market town, when holding other co-variates in the model constant. Other than biophysical factors, such as game abundance, hunting is also conditioned by social factors (e.g., schooling) that shape the hunters' cultural system and impel them to engage in hunting or deter them from doing so.
  3,785 470 -
Spatial and Temporal Patterns in the Cod Fisheries of the North Atlantic
Anne Hayden, James Acheson, Michael Kersula, James Wilson
October-December 2015, 13(4):414-425
Atlantic Cod Gadus morhua has been subject to commercial exploitation since the thirteenth century. An analysis of cod fisheries over space and time reveals a pattern of serial depletion that reflects the cross-scale interaction of fish population structure, economic incentives, developments in fishing technology, and government efforts to limit access to fishing areas. Three case studies from Newfoundland and Labrador, the larger Northwest Atlantic, and the Gulf of Maine illustrate a pattern of fish population depletion followed by expansion of fishing activity that repeats at a range of scales. The meta-population structure of cod populations allows overharvesting, even when strict but broadscale controls are in place. The results argue for the reform of fisheries management to incorporate governance that more closely reflects the scale of the local components of metapopulations.
  2,909 358 -
Searching for Justice: Rights vs 'Benefits' in Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park, Indonesia
Rodd Myers, Mumu Muhajir
October-December 2015, 13(4):370-381
Five villages that border Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in Melawi, West Kalimantan, are rekindling their protest over the park boundaries and the appropriation of their lands by the park. The park was established as a nature reserve in 1981 without participation of customary users. Customary user contestations are muted by a democratic void in which they are without recognition in the governance structures of the park. Therefore, communities have sought Indigenous peoples' rights NGOs to represent them and advance their customary claims over land. These NGOs prove more salient to the needs of the villages because they focus less on distributive justice through benefit sharing and more on recognition justice through the advancement of land claims. Whilst villagers decry the lack of any benefit from the park, it is they themselves who refuse to accept such benefits from park authorities. This paper explores the struggles for recognition over customary land in the national park and finds that peoples' resistance to the State, including offers of distributive benefits, is rooted in the notion that their consent constitutes acceptance of State authority over customary land.
  2,271 566 -
Identifying Social-ecological Linkages to Develop a Community Fire Plan in Mexico
Rachel A.S Sheridan, Peter Z Fulé, Martha E Lee, Erik A Nielsen
October-December 2015, 13(4):395-406
Community forestry in rural Mexico presents a unique opportunity to study the linkages and feedback within coupled social-ecological systems due to the fact that agrarian or indigenous communities control approximately half of the national territory of Mexico. We used social and ecological diagnostic tools to develop a fire management strategy for a communal forest containing an endemic piñón pine species, Pinus cembroides subs. orizabensis, in the state of Tlaxcala, Mexico. The ecological diagnostic was done through fuel inventory, forest structure sampling, and fire behaviour modelling. The social assessment was conducted through household interviews, community workshops, and direct participant observation. The ecological fire hazard was quantified and coupled with the social assessment to develop a fire management plan. Vertical fuel continuity and flashy surface fuels created a high fire hazard. Modelled fire behaviour showed a rapid rate of spread and high flame lengths under multiple scenarios. Relative impunity for starting forest fires, poor community and inter-agency organisation, and lack of project continuity across organisational sectors appear to be the most significant social limiting factors for wildfire management. Combining both social and ecological diagnostic tools provides a comprehensive understanding of the actual risks to forests, and identifies realistic community-supported options for conservation on cooperatively managed lands.
  1,921 283 -
Grassland Conservation and the Plains-wanderer: A Small Brown Bird Makes an Effective Local Flagship
Kyla Johnstone, Kelly K Miller, Mark J Antos
October-December 2015, 13(4):407-413
This study explored whether the plains-wanderer (Pedionomus torquatus), a species lacking the criteria outlined in the traditional flagship model, is a suitable local flagship for the Northern Plains Grasslands of Victoria in Australia. Questionnaires and telephone interviews were used to survey residents and natural resource management professionals and volunteers ('NRM participants') in communities living close to the Northern Plains Grasslands. Questionnaires were completed by 146 residents and 69 NRM participants, and 15 interviews were conducted. Results suggest that a significant proportion of the local community was aware of, and valued, the plains-wanderer, and that the species is currently functioning as an effective flagship for the region. Recommendations are provided for the future selection of flagship species in ecosystems where traditional flagships are not present.
  1,608 234 -