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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| July-September  | Volume 14 | Issue 3  
    Online since September 27, 2016

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Modelling Local Attitudes to Protected Areas in Developing Countries
Chiara Bragagnolo, Ana C.M. Malhado, Paul Jepson, Richard J Ladle
July-September 2016, 14(3):163-182
During a time of intensifying competition for land, Protected Areas (PAs) are coming under increasing pressure to justify their status. Positive local attitudes to a PA are a potentially important component of any such justification, especially in the developing world where human pressure on natural resources is often high. However, despite numerous studies our understanding of what drives positive attitudes to PAs is still exceedingly limited. Here, we review the literature on local attitudes towards PAs in developing countries. Our survey reveals a highly fragmented research area where studies typically lack an explicit conceptual basis, and where there is wide variation in choice of statistical approach, explanatory and response variables, and incorporation of contextual information. Nevertheless, there is a relatively high degree of concordance between studies, with certain variables showing strong associations with attitudes. We recommend that PA attitude researchers in developing countries adopt a more rigorous model building approach based on a clear conceptual framework and drawing on the extensive empirical literature. Such an approach would improve the quality of research, increase comparability, and provide a stronger basis to support conservation decision-making.
  6,978 1,049 -
The Political Economy of Conservation at Mount Elgon, Uganda: Between Local Deprivation, Regional Sustainability, and Global Public Goods
Paul Vedeld, Connor Cavanagh, Jon Geir Petursson, Charlotte Nakakaawa, Ricarda Moll, Espen Sjaastad
July-September 2016, 14(3):183-194
This paper presents a case study from Mount Elgon National Park, Uganda, examining and deepening an understanding of direct incomes and costs of conservation for local people close to protected areas. In the early 1990s, collaborative arrangements were introduced to Mount Elgon National Park to improve people-park relations and enhance rural livelihoods after a period of violent evictions and severe resource access restrictions. In areas with such arrangements – including resource access agreements, Taungya farming, and beekeeping schemes – we observe a marginal increase in annual incomes for involved households. Other incomes accrue from tourism revenue sharing schemes, a community revolving fund, and payments for carbon sequestration. However, these incomes are economically marginal (1.2% of household income), unevenly distributed and instrumentally used to reward compliance with park regulations. They do not necessarily accrue to those incurring costs due to eviction and exclusion, crop raiding, resource access restrictions and conflicts. By contrast, costs constitute at least 20.5 % of total household incomes, making it difficult to see how conservation, poverty alleviation and development can be locally reconciled if local populations continue to bear the economic brunt of conservation. We recommend a shift in policy towards donor and state responsibility for compensating costs on a relevant scale. Such a shift would be an important step towards a more substantive rights-based model of conservation, and would enhance the legitimacy of protected area management in the context of both extreme poverty and natural resource dependence.
  4,791 2,554 -
A Review of the Impact of Militarisation: The Case of Rhino Poaching in Kruger National Park, South Africa
Wendy Annecke, Mmoto Masubelele
July-September 2016, 14(3):195-204
This paper is addressed to academics, conservation agencies and governments primarily in developing countries, faced with the need to protect species from poaching by global syndicates or local groups that threaten the survival of species. The argument of this paper is that while military intervention may provide short to medium terms gains, these have to be weighed against the likely medium to long term financial and socio-economic costs of military activity on people, including the military themselves, and conservation. These costs are likely to be significant and may even threaten the sustainability of conservation areas. While the analysis is developed in relation to the military intervention to inhibit rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, the literature review reveals that similar challenges occur internationally and the South African case study may be applicable to a wide range of anti-poaching conservation efforts and military options throughout the developing world. A multi-pronged approach, where all components are strongly implemented, is necessary to combat poaching.
  6,140 1,059 -
Human-wildlife Conflict, Conservation Attitudes, and a Potential Role for Citizen Science in Sierra Leone, Africa
Lincoln R Larson, April L Conway, Sonia M Hernandez, John P Carroll
July-September 2016, 14(3):205-217
Protection of tropical biodiversity is often difficult due to persistent gaps in ecological data and complex conflicts between wildlife conservation and human livelihoods. To better understand the nature and extent of these conflicts, we conducted intercept surveys (n = 522) with local villagers around the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Sierra Leone (August - December, 2010). Results revealed high levels of crop depredation, retaliatory killing, and bushmeat harvesting in villages surrounding the protected area. We also found that pro-conservation attitudes were less prevalent among younger adults and immigrants to the region. Efforts to mitigate human-wildlife conflict could emphasise an enhanced awareness and appreciation of wildlife resources among these particular socio-demographic groups. In the second part of our study (May 2012), we interviewed a subset of local residents (n = 14) to explore the feasibility and utility of expanding our initial survey effort to create a more comprehensive and sustainable framework for monitoring human-wildlife interactions based on Public Participation in Scientific Research (PPSR) principles. Findings highlighted the challenges of implementing a PPSR-type model in this difficult management context and the potential benefits of using “citizen science” to improve data collection capacity, increase local empowerment, and influence wildlife conservation.
  4,424 738 -
Austere Conservation: Understanding Conflicts over Resource Governance in Tanzanian Wildlife Management Areas
Jevgeniy Bluwstein, Francis Moyo, Rose Peter Kicheleri
July-September 2016, 14(3):218-231
We explore how the regime of rules over access to land, natural, and financial resources reflects the degree of community ownership of a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Tanzania. Being discursively associated with participatory and decentralised approaches to natural resource management, WMA policies have the ambition to promote the empowerment of communities to decide over rules that govern access to land and resources. Our purpose is to empirically examine the spaces for popular participation in decision-making over rules of management created by WMA policies: that is, in what sense of the word are WMAs actually community-based? We do this by studying conflicts over the regime of rules over access to land and resources. Analytically, we focus on actors, their rights and meaningful powers to exert control over resource management, and on accountability relationships amongst the actors. Our findings suggest that WMAs foster very limited ownership, participation and collective action at the community level, because WMA governance follows an austere logic of centralized control over key resources. Thus, we suggest that it is difficult to argue that WMAs are community-owned conservation initiatives until a genuinely devolved and more flexible conservation model is implemented to give space for popular participation in rule-making.
  4,108 722 -
Understanding the Relationship between Governance and Forest Landscape Restoration
Stephanie Mansourian
July-September 2016, 14(3):267-278
Restoring forested landscapes is being promoted widely as a solution to the world's deforestation and degradation problems, as well as for climate change mitigation and adaptation, for supporting poor rural communities, and for water and soil protection. Yet, while practitioners understand reasonably well many of the technical aspects of forest restoration, they have a much poorer understanding of governance dimensions. Governance challenges come under many guises—financial disincentives, poor institutional set up, unclear tenure and lack of local empowerment, amongst others. Not much has been written to date on forest landscape restoration and governance. This article aims to better understand the governance challenges that practitioners face when restoring forest landscapes and to explore the points of intersection between forest landscape restoration and governance. To achieve this, a broader review of concepts related to governance, forests and landscapes was conducted, followed by a review of existing landscape-scale forest restoration projects to identify the governance factors that have been considered (if any). Findings indicate the need for a more dynamic and process-orientated approach to address governance as it relates to forest landscape restoration. The author proposes a classification for the intersection between governance and forest landscape restoration.
  3,373 635 -
The Protection of Forest Biodiversity can Conflict with Food Access for Indigenous People
Olivia Sylvester, Alí García Segura, Iain J Davidson-Hunt
July-September 2016, 14(3):279-290
International protected area (PA) management policies recognise the importance of respecting Indigenous rights. However, little research has been conducted to evaluate how these policies are being enforced. We evaluated whether Indigenous rights to access traditional food were being respected in La Amistad Biosphere Reserve, Costa Rica. By examining land management documents, we found that PA regulations have the potential to restrict traditional food access because these regulations ban shifting agriculture and heavily restrict hunting; these regulations do not address the harvest of edible plants. By working with Bribri people, we found multiple negative impacts that PAs had on: health, nutrition, passing on cultural teachings to youth, quality of life, cultural identity, social cohesion and bonding, as well as on the land and non-human beings. We propose three steps to better support food access in PAs in Costa Rica and elsewhere. First, a right to food framework should inform PA management regarding traditional food harvesting. Second, people require opportunities to define what harvesting activities are traditional and sustainable and these activities should be respected in PA management. Third, harvesting regulations need to be clearly communicated by land managers to resource users so people have the necessary information to exercise their rights to access food.
  3,127 467 -
Failure by Design? Revisiting Tanzania's Flagship Wildlife Management Area Burunge
Francis Moyo, Jasper Ijumba, Jens Friis Lund
July-September 2016, 14(3):232-242
In this paper, we revisit the on-the-ground reality of Burunge Wildlife Management Area (WMA) that is celebrated as one of Tanzania's best examples of community-based conservation (CBC). We find Burunge WMA rife with conflict and contestation over grievances that remained unsettled since its establishment a decade ago. These grievances have been accentuated by growing land pressure resulting from increasing human, livestock, and elephant populations, in combination with infrastructure improvements and support for agriculture-led development. The WMA governance regime has little to offer the residents and village leaders of Burunge member villages who appear hostages in a situation where interests in human development and conservation are pitted against each other, making a mockery of the notions of CBC. By re-examining this exemplary WMA case and compare our findings with the way it is being portrayed by supporting agencies, we pinpoint the tendency of the actors promoting conservation in Tanzania to misrepresent or ignore the realities on the ground that defy official policy promises. In doing this, we hope to call upon the many empathetic and hard-working individuals to end the collective failure to address this detrimental discrepancy between reality and representation, and start supporting affected residents in their struggles for self-determination.
  2,999 481 -
Environmental Leaders and Indigenous Engagement in Australia: A Cosmopolitan Endeavour?
Lyn McGaurr, Bruce Tranter, Libby Lester
July-September 2016, 14(3):254-266
The World Heritage Convention protects sites of universal natural and cultural values, sometimes in combination. In 2015, it was amended to incorporate references to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). International conventions are always in danger of becoming the hand-maidens of their signatory states. When evidence emerges that they have succumbed, it fuels criticism of cosmopolitanism. At the same time, environmental leaders sometimes clash with Indigenous people over efforts to conserve the natural values of traditional lands for the 'global good'. This article asks how international instruments with cosmopolitan ambitions influence the discourse and practice of national and subnational environmentalists attempting to find common ground with Indigenous groups. Drawing on interviews with 25 Australian environmental leaders, it finds the World Heritage Convention and UNDRIP have encouraged a pragmatic cosmopolitan practice among environmentalists, despite continuing intercultural differences in some quarters.
  1,786 249 -
Pooling Expert Opinion on Environmental Discounting: An International Delphi Survey
José Martínez-Paz, Carmen Almansa, Valero Casasnovas, José Colino
July-September 2016, 14(3):243-253
The primary aim of this study is to examine the various issues involved in environmental discounting using a Delphi survey of a worldwide panel drawn from specialists in issues relating to discounting and long-term investment evaluation. The environmental discount rate is applied when performing cost–benefit analysis (CBA) on projects with environmental impact, in order to aggregate tangible and intangible effects. A review of the preceding literature shows that, after decades of academic debate, opinions have gradually converged. Furthermore, public administrations have begun to echo the need for a new look at the long-term discounting. One of the main findings of this study is the virtual unanimity of experts regarding the need to modify the approach to intergenerational discounting. The survey also yields a proposal for specific values for discount rates, based on the time horizon for the project under evaluation. The application of the resulting rates in the socio-economic evaluation of a project of environmental restoration provides numerical evidence of the importance of the choice of both discount rate and discount strategy.
  1,691 130 -
Nature (s) as a Contested Field
Ferran Pons Raga
July-September 2016, 14(3):291-292
  1,067 174 -