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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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   2019| April-June  | Volume 17 | Issue 2  
    Online since April 2, 2019

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When Race and Social Equity Matters in Nature Conservation in Post-apartheid South Africa
Regis Musavengane, Llewellyn Leonard
April-June 2019, 17(2):135-146
Current academic literature examining race and nature conservation in South Africa has relied mainly on secondary data analysis while neglecting the voices of local communities. This article draws on empirical experience to assess the extent of the impact of race and social equity in conservation, with the aim of promoting sustainable and more inclusive conservation practices in South Africa. Empirical results are drawn from different cases to examine racial equity in conservation. The findings suggest that conservation practices in post-apartheid South Africa are still exclusionary for the majority black population. Promoting more inclusive conservation is complex and requires a broader conservation agenda for more inclusivity and to genuinely tackle issues of poverty. There is a need for conservation groups to also include the previously marginalised in leadership structures and to incorporate indigenous knowledge systems. This will assist in changing the perception of marginalised people that particular persons dominate conservation. The paper further makes specific recommendations on how conservation can become more inclusive across social and race lines.
  2,196 540 -
Folk Filmmaking: A Participatory Method for Engaging Indigenous Ethics and Improving Understanding
Adam Pérou Hermans Amir
April-June 2019, 17(2):123-134
On an assignment to produce videos promoting Cross River gorilla conservation to indigenous communities in Nigeria and Cameroon, I invited community members to join me. I followed decolonising and feminist methodologies to develop a form of participatory video production, 'Folk Filmmaking', in which participants present their own accounts of wildlife, conservation, and environmental values by performing stories. Through the films, participants shared their knowledge as morality tales, providing contextual nuance to moral challenges, clarity on local concerns, and opportunities for better understanding of local conflicts with conservation. Most films use gorillas as a plot device but orient the moral issues not to the ape's plight but to communal struggles with challenges such as marginalisation, modernity, and corruption. The films do not say how best to conserve the last 300 Cross River gorillas but they help articulate indigenous values and show the challenges conservation must overcome. This paper shares an account of lessons learned during the project through continual, critical reflection on my process. It describes my methodology and the films produced then offers an analysis and evaluation of the project. It concludes with notes on the potential and pitfalls of participatory video in contexts of cross-cultural conflict over conservation.
  1,972 576 -
Multi-stakeholder Platforms and Protected Area Management: Evidence from El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, Mexico
Ludger Brenner
April-June 2019, 17(2):147-160
This article analyses the potentials and limitations of multi-stakeholder platforms (known as advisory councils in Mexico) involved in protected area and resource management in peripheral regions. Qualitative, in-depth expert interviews conducted in 2015 at one of the world's most prominent Biosphere Reserves focused on the sources of effective and inclusive stakeholder participation through collective decision-making and joint implementation. Results identified three key interrelated factors that explain the performance and effectiveness of the advisory council at the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve: 1) comparatively favourable socioeconomic and political conditions at the outset; 2) efficient internal organisation that fosters informed decision-making by consensus; and 3) the ability to influence governmental institutions through collective lobbying. As a result, the council has been able to exclude several non-local actors from resource use, obtain public funding, and participate in diverse management activities. Due to the lack of a well-defined mandate; however, it still depends on centralised institutions and has no decisive stake in the governmental decision-making process yet. Therefore, despite notable progress, genuine stakeholder participation in protected area management still faces limitations in Mexico and probably other countries as well.
  1,826 438 -
Creating Landscapes of Coexistence: Do Conservation Interventions Promote Tolerance of Lions in Human-dominated Landscapes?
Guy Western, David W Macdonald, Andrew J Loveridge, Amy J Dickman
April-June 2019, 17(2):204-217
The range-wide decline of lions has led to their conservation becoming a top priority. Protection of free-ranging lion populations is dependent on securing space for lions but also on the ability and desire of local communities to coexist with lions. Our investigation takes a comparative and case study approach to explore the individual and societal desire to maintain current lion populations alongside communities in, or surrounding, Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park, Tanzania's Ruaha National Park, and Kenya's southern Maasailand. Using data from attitudinal questionnaire surveys, we compare the desire to maintain current lion populations as well as the prevalence and success of conservation interventions aimed at increasing human-lion coexistence. In Maasailand, 88% of the respondents expressed a desire to see current lion populations maintained, while only 42% of the respondents in Ruaha and only 5% of the respondents in Hwange expressed this desire. More respondents reported predation by lions (lion predation) on livestock in Maasailand than in Hwange; personal benefits from conservation were greatest in Maasailand; and exposure to conservation education was highest in Ruaha. The Hwange findings were confounded by Zimbabwe's political and economic climate. In Ruaha and Maasailand, communal and individual conservation benefits influenced desired changes to lion population. Once variation between sites was controlled for, twinning personal benefits and conservation education together was most likely to increase an individual's desire to see current lion populations maintained.
  1,229 261 -
The Displacement of Insufficiently 'Traditional' Communities:Local Fisheries in the Pantanal
Rafael Morais Chiaravalloti
April-June 2019, 17(2):173-183
The rise of community-based conservation (CBC) from the 1980s, heralded a paradigm shift in the global conservation and development agenda, increasing the engagement of conservationists towards the cause of the needs of Indigenous people. As a result, many international agreements were implemented, such as Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (1989) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992). In Brazil, a National Policy for the Sustainable Development of Traditional Peoples and Communities (PNDSPCT) was introduced in 2007, which came to recognise the rights and existing sustainable use practices of 'traditional communities'. This paper uses data from a long-term ethnography of both the local people and the conservation agenda in the Pantanal wetland, Brazil, to discuss how environmentalists used the PNDSPCT to justify the displacement of local people by claiming they do not fit in any traditional community category, and instead should be called 'rural poor'. Interview-based evidence from these communities shows the contrary—pointing out a long history of occupation in the region, customary practices that guarantee sustainable use and self-recognition as a culturally differentiated group. The results are used to explore how narrow notions of indigenous identity have been used to oppress communities in Brazil and in other parts of the global south. The paper concludes that a flexible and fluid categorisation of traditional peoples or indigenous groups should be used in order to avoid reinforcing the already oppressive restrictions placed on local communities that are close to or part of conservation initiatives.
  892 254 -
What the Gringos Brought: Local Perspectives on a Private Protected Area in Chilean Patagonia
Elena Louder, Keith Bosak
April-June 2019, 17(2):161-172
Privately Protected Areas (PPAs) are a growing trend in conservation and have been promoted by global environmental institutions such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an essential component for achieving conservation targets. PPAs are on the rise worldwide and particularly in Chile, where neoliberal reform has created new spaces in conservation management for private individuals and civil society. However, little empirical research examines their effects on local people. Drawing from critiques of the neoliberalisation of nature and the intertwining of capitalism and conservation, this research explores the case of a particular PPA in Chile, Patagonia Park; asking specifically: what are the impacts of this particular PPA on local residents? Based on in-depth, semi-structured interviews, this research finds that the park has been detrimental to local livelihoods, disrupted systems of production, and elicited emotional responses of pain, sadness, and loss. The relation between the park and community has been characterised by a lack of information and understanding, and reveals deeply contrasting views of nature held by park administrators and local residents. We find that, in this case, the social impacts of the PPA are similar to those that have long been documented and criticised in state-run, 'fortress conservation' models. When we look closely at the history of many state-run protected areas, we see that private capital has always played a central role in conservation. This research suggests then that there may be little truly novel about PPAs in terms of both process of development, and the ways that local people experience them.
  908 166 -
Genealogies and Politics of Belonging: People, Nature and Conservation in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu
Ajit Menon, Manasi Karthik
April-June 2019, 17(2):195-203
The landscape of Gudalur, located in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu, India, has been shaped and re-shaped by multiple waves of in-migration that date back to the mid-nineteenth century. The political-economic imperatives for these phases of migration have ranged from the development of capitalist relations within the estate economy to the compulsions of the Grow More Food Campaign to the political repatriation of 'Indian' Tamils from erstwhile Ceylon, now Sri Lanka. This article focuses on how the politics of belonging in Gudalur is a consequence of this history and has resulted in a sedentarist metaphysics shaping state policy and contestations around conservation. The article highlights how the state increasingly sees adivasis (=indigenous people) as a possible ethno-environmental fix for conservation and how non-adivasis project their environmental subjectivities to claim that they too belong. By unpacking the politics of belonging through a historical account of the making of conservation in the region, the article attempts to illustrate how conservation includes and excludes people from the hill landscape.
  795 152 -
Towards a Conceptualisation of Power in Fuelwood Access in Zimbabwe
Ellen Fungisai Chipango
April-June 2019, 17(2):184-194
Fuelwood scarcity in sub-Saharan African countries is a pressing challenge to rural households. However, what is not appreciated is that the scarcity is conceived by the power dynamics constraints, which impede fuelwood access. That being so, the growing body of work on fuelwood does not as yet pay adequate attention to the relationship between power asymmetries and fuelwood access, hence there is a gap in fuelwood policy. In the face of this wider problem, the case of Buhera District demonstrates power dynamics of fuelwood access in Zimbabwe. Based on extensive qualitative fieldwork, the article illuminates the relations between state actors and the local people in accessing fuelwood. This is important because access is determined by the policing action taken by the powerful state actors. The questions at the centre of this article are how rural people's access to fuelwood is influenced by power dynamics and how these dynamics contribute to fuelwood scarcity in their villages. From the study it emerged that there are various techniques of power, which are used by state actors in controlling and regulating fuelwood access, leading me to draw two major conclusions. First, there is no one fuelwood scarcity (shortage in a specific location), but rather even where fuelwood is available, power relations play a role in determining accessibility. Second, hidden power is used to present fuelwood scarcity as apolitical, leading to flawed solutions which intensify rural people's plight. Accordingly, by showing the workings of power relations, I endeavour to provide the foundation for well-informed fuelwood policy.
  692 122 -
Indigenous Sacred Natural Sites and Spiritual Governance: the legal case for Juristic Personhood
Bas Verschuuren
April-June 2019, 17(2):218-219
  631 113 -
The Last White Hunter: Reminiscences of a Colonial Shikari
Julie E Hughes
April-June 2019, 17(2):224-225
  553 99 -
Conservation from the Margins
Manish Chandi
April-June 2019, 17(2):222-223
  530 118 -
In Defense of Public Lands
Megan Youdelis
April-June 2019, 17(2):220-221
  550 91 -