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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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   2016| January-March  | Volume 14 | Issue 1  
    Online since May 20, 2016

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A classification of threats to traditional ecological knowledge and conservation responses
Ruifei Tang, Michael C Gavin
January-March 2016, 14(1):57-70
Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) shapes human-environment interactions across much of the globe. Numerous case studies have provided evidence of TEK degradation, with substantial implications for the status of biodiversity. Previous studies draw on diverse academic disciplines, each with a unique set of theoretical constructs and discipline-specific jargon. The lack of a standard lexicon for TEK threats and conservation actions impedes the comparative work needed to understand broad patterns of TEK degradation and implications for biodiversity conservation planning. Based on a literature review (n=152 sources), questionnaires (n=137 respondents), and semi-structured interviews (n=63 interviewees), we developed a classification system for both, threats to TEK and corresponding conservation actions. We find TEK degradation to be widespread (89% of cases in literature and 87% of cases from questionnaire) and typically driven by a complex web of threats acting at different spatial and temporal scales. Conservation responses can best address this interconnectivity through the involvement of multiple actors across different institutional and spatial levels. We also demonstrate the utility of the classification system by applying it to an examination of TEK threats in Inner Mongolia, China.
  5,934 867 -
The good, the ugly and the dirty harry's of conservation: Rethinking the anthropology of conservation NGOs
Peter Bille Larsen
January-March 2016, 14(1):21-33
For the past decade, narrative portrayals of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) growing big, 'ugly', and business-minded have become common in both social science and public discourse. At a time when both engagement within NGOs as well as critical analysis from the outside has blossomed, how are the social sciences and anthropology in particular responding? This article suggests that a set of meta-narratives characterise much of the literature analysing conservation NGOs. Such narratives respectively position NGOs as doing good, turning ugly or acting pragmatically through what I label 'Dirty Harry' characteristics. While the critique of conservation NGOs offers a much needed 'reality check', it is time to revisit dichotomies of the 'good' past and the ugly present. The article reviews trends in the literature and offers a case study from the Peruvian Amazon. The final synthesis emphasises the need for a less essentialist perspective tracing heterogeneity and change of NGO activity over time.
  4,514 869 -
Jaguar conservation in southern Belize: Conflicts, perceptions, and prospects among mayan hunters
Michael K Steinberg
January-March 2016, 14(1):13-20
Belize has emerged as an international leader in jaguar conservation through the creation of numerous protected areas that contain prime cat habitat and by strengthening conservation laws. For example, in 1984, Belize created the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve, the first special jaguar protection area in the Americas. In 1995, the government expanded Cockscomb by creating the adjacent Chiquibul National Park. In 2010, the government continued this commitment to jaguar conservation by creating the Labouring Creek Jaguar Corridor Wildlife Sanctuary in central Belize. As a result of these protected areas, Belize has been rightfully lauded as a leader in nature-based tourism and protected areas creation in Central America. However, outside national parks and communities that directly benefit from ecotourism, it is less clear how supportive rural residents are of cat conservation. It is also not clear if jaguars persist outside protected areas in locations such as southern Belize, where the environment has been significantly altered by human activities. Through interviews with Mayan hunters, this paper investigates the attitudes towards jaguars, human-jaguar conflicts, and potential community-based jaguar conservation in two Mayan villages in the Toledo District in southern Belize. Also, using indirect methods, the paper documents the presence/absence and other temporal/spatial aspects of jaguars in a heavily altered landscape in southern Belize.
  4,080 638 -
Ecosystem services provided by a former gravel extraction site in the uk under two contrasting restoration states
Phillip J Blaen, Michael A MacDonald, Richard B Bradbury
January-March 2016, 14(1):48-56
Mineral extraction sites restored for nature conservation can provide areas of high quality habitat and enhance local biodiversity, yet the ecosystem services and associated socio-economic benefits delivered by such sites are not well understood. Here we use a combination of primary field data, benefit transfer, and visitor questionnaires to assess ecosystem services provided by a former gravel mining site restored for nature conservation. We quantify the marginal benefits accrued from the site by comparing ecosystem service delivery from the current nature conservation state to delivery under a highly plausible alternative restoration state; namely a public amenity park. Our results suggest restoration for nature conservation is associated with relatively high carbon storage, but that carbon sequestration is offset to some degree by greenhouse gas fluxes from saturated reed bed areas. We demonstrate through a zonal travel-cost method and individual interviews that restoration for nature conservation contributes to local amenity value by providing specialised wildlife viewing opportunities to visitors. Our results highlight the potential ecosystem services associated with mineral sites restored for nature conservation. Notably, this study strengthens the evidence base to support the case for biodiversity-focused restoration of these extraction sites, both to the minerals industry and governmental planners, by suggesting that such restoration strategies may play an important role in contributing to human well-being without impeding economic progress.
  3,547 465 -
Impacts of reintroduced bison on first nations people in Yukon, Canada: Finding common ground through participatory research and social learning
Douglas A Clark, Linaya Workman, Thomas S Jung
January-March 2016, 14(1):1-12
From 1988-1992 wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) were transplanted to the southwest Yukon, inadvertently creating concerns among local First Nations about their impacts on other wildlife, habitat, and their members' traditional livelihoods. To understand these concerns we conducted a participatory impact assessment based on a multistage analysis of existing and new qualitative data. We found wood bison had since become a valued food resource, though there was a socially-determined carrying capacity for this population. Study participants desire a population large enough to sustainably harvest but avoid crossing a threshold beyond which bison may alter the regional ecosystem. An alternative problem definition emerged that focuses on how wildlife and people alike are adapting to the observed long-term changes in climate and landscape; suggesting that a wider range of acceptable policy alternatives likely exists than may have previously been thought. Collective identification of this new problem definition indicates that this specific assessment acted as a social learning process in which the participants jointly discovered new perspectives on a problem at both individual and organisational levels. Subsequent regulatory changes, based on this research, demonstrate the efficacy of participatory impact assessment for ameliorating human-wildlife conflicts.
  3,197 609 -
Governing uncertainty: Resilience, dwelling, and flexible resource management in Oceania
Matthew Lauer
January-March 2016, 14(1):34-47
This article examines the flexible, customary land and sea tenure practices on a small island in Melanesia. I use the dwelling concept to analyse how governance practices on the island function during three different kinds of social-ecological change: 1) rapid demographic expansion; 2) a destructive tsunami; and 3) several recent development projects. In contrast to conventional resilience approaches, the dwelling concept draws attention to the immediate experience and practical application of environmental management. Results show that flexible resource governance is not based on a set of pre-determined rules, but instead, it is a socially-situated, experiential activity involving tension, conflict, and contestation as people negotiate access to land and sea resources. I argue that a dwelling perspective enhances resilience-focused research by providing a broader, non-dichotomising nature-culture analytical lens and by expanding the scope of inquiry to include power dynamics and contestation between social groups, processes that dominate the everyday experience of flexible ecosystem management governance but tend to be overlooked in most resilience research. With its emphasis on the complexity, contingency, and asymmetry of interacting social, economic, political, and ecological processes the dwelling approach complements 'new ecology', the epistemological shift that help inspire resilience research.
  2,201 326 -
Nature without borders
Rohit Negi
January-March 2016, 14(1):71-72
  1,471 279 -