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A network for all who care about the conservation of our world and who want to see it achieved with justice, compassion, dignity and honesty.

Contestation and Citizen-Led Negotiation Around the Establishment of Protected Areas in Nepal

This paper recounts and describes the resistance movement around GCA, particularly against the government and NTNC’s unilateral approach to declare and manage it.

“An understanding of the emerging contestation and negotiation around PA management can inform the wider conservation policy process in general and the PA management in particular. What are the new forms of resistance against the newly established PAs? How can we understand and characterise such resistance campaigns? How have different actors responded to such contestation and negotiation? What can we learn from confrontation and contestation against PA expansion?”

More… Mar 08, 2013

"The White Men Bought the Forests"

Conservation and Contestation in Guinea-Bissau, Western Africa

Both fortress and community-based approaches to conservation have shown poor (sometimes negative) results in terms of environmental protection and poverty reduction. Either approach can also trigger grassroots resistance. This article is centered on an allegedly 'community-based' conservation and development project (and its successive follow-ups) intended to create a national park in Guinea-Bissau. It discusses how external agents have constructed the need for intervention, and explores the negative consequences of the practical solutions adopted for a non-existing problem, as well as the on-going shifting and multiple responses of local people. The article aims to demonstrate that supposedly community-based approaches can be as authoritarian and ineffective as fortress conservation, and that resistance generated by them can be fruitless in terms of collective empowerment and welfare, while also being harmful for the environment. The only genuine winner is the aid industry.

More… Jan 10, 2013

“Authenticity,” Identity, and Humanity: The Hai//om San and the State of Namibia

A summary of issues regarding the conservation influenced resettlement of the Hai//om from Etosha National Park. Contributed by Robert Hitchcock and the Kalahari Peoples Fund.

"It would be useful if the Namibian government followed international declarations and protocols on the rights of indigenous peoples to land and to free, prior, and informed consent regarding resettlement policies and programs. It would also be beneficial if both the government of Namibia and the Hai//om Traditional Authority employed an approach to decision-making based more on consultation and consensus building, and less on top-down directives. This is in the spirit of democratic governance and will help ensure that the goals of building a strong, peaceful and successful society will succeed."

More… Dec 11, 2012

"Blackfeet Belong to the Mountains"

Hope, Loss, and Blackfeet Claims to Glacier National Park, Montana

Abstract: While relationships between indigenous groups and protected areas have been extensively documented internationally, research on Native Americans and US National Parks is surprisingly sparse. Based on in-depth interviews with Blackfeet Indians, this article examines the complex contemporary relationship between the Blackfeet and Glacier National Park. According to the Blackfeet, tribal relationships with the park landscape are sustained through on-site practices that provide an interwoven and inseparable set of material, cultural, and spiritual benefits. The prohibition and regulation of many historic practices within park boundaries prevents the realisation of these benefits and fuels tensions between the tribe and the park, especially in the context of past dispossession and longstanding animosity toward the federal government. At the same time, the undeveloped landscape of Glacier National Park is evocative of an ancestral past and has, for many Blackfeet, preserved the potential for cultural reclamation and renewal. To realise this potential, Blackfeet argued for greater integration of their needs and perspectives into park management and policy. We suggest reinstatement of treaty rights, voluntary closure of cultural sites, co-management of parklands, and special legal designations as possible paths forw

More… Oct 22, 2012

Common and Conflicting Interests in the Engagements between Conservation Organizations and Corporations

"Conservation is primarily not about biology but about people and the choices they make."

Abstract: The conservation community increasingly views the corporate sector as a positive force for con- servation. Collaborations between corporations and nongovernmental conservation organizations (NGOs) seek to mitigate the negative effects of corporate activities and augment positive conservation outcomes. I reviewed the establishment of corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies by corporations; the emerging fo- cus on environmental practices and sustainability; and the history of engagement between corporations and nongovernmental organizations. I considered the ethical and reputation vulnerabilities of these collabora- tions, which depend especially on the financial nature of the relationship and reviewed how CSR approaches have influenced corporate practices. I concluded that whereas CSR practices can act to mitigate negative environmental impact, to date they have had limited positive effect on biodiversity conservation.

More… Oct 14, 2012

Linking science and human rights: Facts and figures

S. Romi Mukherjee outlines human rights-based approaches to science, technology and development, and what they mean for policy and practice.

"Many international policy scholars argue that rights-based approaches help to re-orient NGOs and the UN system away from professionalised philanthropy and towards capacity-building; that they promise sustainable interventions and reduce dependency on aid; and that they help to redefine the responsibilities of governmental authorities, local actors, NGOs, and the UN system."

More… Oct 02, 2012

Tigers take to the night in order to thrive among humans

A new study suggests that endangered carnivores and humans can share habitats.

As the human population grows, conflicts with wildlife are becoming more common and more intense. Many conservation models are built on the idea that threatened species, especially large carnivores, cannot successfully use the same habitat as humans. These theories claim that large protected areas are needed to ensure the survival of these species, so parks have been fenced and humans have been resettled.

More… Sep 05, 2012

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and its land claimants

A pre- and post-land claim conservation and development history

Abstract. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is located in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa and neighbouring Botswana. The local communities on the South African side, the Khomani San (Bushmen) and Mier living adjacent to the park have land rights inside and outside the park. The path from a history of land dispossession to being land owners has created conservation challenges manifested through heightened inter- and intra-community conflicts. The contestations for land and tourism development opportunities in and outside the park have drawn in powerful institutions such as the governments, South African National Parks, private safari companies, local interest groups and NGOs against relatively powerless local communities. This has consequently attracted national and international interest since it may result in further marginalization of the communities who lack the power to negotiate resource access. Moreover, the social and political system of the San is romanticized while little is reported about the Mier, who are an integral part of the park management system. To make these issues more accessible to a growing audience of interested parties and to better understand present conservation and development challenges and opportunities, this paper synthesizes information on the pre- and post-land restitution history of the park and the adjacent communities.

More… Apr 06, 2012