Planetary changes associated with the Anthropocene challenge longestablished ideas and approaches within biodiversity conservation, such as wilderness, wildness, native and exotic species, species and ecosystem diversity, and what counts as success in biodiversity conservation. This article reviews and analyzes how the Anthropocene is being used within the literature on biodiversity conservation. It finds that the idea of a new epoch has been used to frame a broad range of new approaches and concepts to understanding and stemming the loss of biodiversity. These new ideas are diverse and sometimes contradictory, embracing a range of ethical values and positions. Yet the term Anthropocene is not widely used within the biodiversity conservation literature. Despite the cross-disciplinary nature of the Anthropocene, interdisciplinary research on these new concepts and approach is rare, and the insights of the humanities are almost entirely absent. Debates about conservation in the Anthropocene are a continuation of long-running controversies within conservation, such as how it should relate to human development, and over the concept of wilderness. Overall, this review demonstrates that the literature on biodiversity conservation in the Anthropocene is not well established, is both diverse and new, while echoing longstanding debates in conservation, and it indicates the direction such literature might take in future.
Peasant Agroecological Systems as New Frontiers of Exploitation?
Anne Cristina de la Vega-Leinert and Peter Clausing
In view of the Aichi international policy targets to expand areas under conservation, we analyze to what extent conservation has become an inherent element of extraction. We scrutinize the Land Sparing versus Land Sharing debate by explicitly incorporating environmental justice issues of access to land and natural resources. We contend that dominant conservation regimes, embedded within Land Sparing, legitimize the displacement of local people and their land use to compensate for distant, unsustainable resource use. In contrast, the Land Sharing counternarrative, by promoting spatial integration of conservation in agroecological systems, has the potential to radically challenge extraction. Common ground emerges around the concept of sustainable intensification. We contend that if inserted in green economy’s technocentric and efficiency-oriented framework, sustainable intensification will contribute to undermining diversified peasant agroecological systems by transforming them into simplified, export-orientated ones, thereby stripping peasant communities of the capacity to provide for their own needs.
The Case of the Baka of Southeast Cameroon—A Variation on the Habitual Mobility–Immobility Nexus
Harrison Esam Awuh
This article demonstrates how conservation-induced immobilization affects the movement of knowledge and practices. I employ the case study of the Baka of East Cameroon to show how spatial immobility, or forced anthropostasis, among the Baka influences the flow of some kinds of knowledge and practices. This study also offers a critique of the view that, when hunter-gatherers settle in towns or permanent villages, their access to new knowledge and practices will be improved, thereby making their lives better. Rather, the loss of local medical knowledge, increased alcohol abuse, and an increasing destabilization of the ecological environment are the main detrimental consequences of new forms of knowledge that Baka are acquiring in villages as a result of contacts with the state, absorption into a capitalist society, and the influence of western-based nongovernmental organizations.
A Case Study of the Bhotia of Uttarakhand (India)
The debate over the extent to which tribals and other indigenous communities have the right to use natural resources found in and around their traditional habitat is one which continues to take place even today. The present paper discusses this very issue in the context of the Bhotia, a tribal community living in the Himalayan foothill state of Uttaranchal (India); their rights to extract and use medicinal plants vis-à-vis the country's forest policy banning it; the issue of conservation of biodiversity and the place of local communities in such endeavours; the plight of the local forest dwellers in the wake of non-recognition of their rights on the forests, and their interaction with this situation. An attempt has also been made to put forward a few suggestions to solve this continuing and nearly universal problem in an amicable way not only among the Bhotia but also among other indigenous groups facing a similar situation. The paper is chiefly based on primary data collected through in-depth interviews, discussions and observations on the selected group.
Ideology, Epistemology, and the Measurement of Human Population Growth on Protected Area Edges
David M. Hoffman
There is an extensive literature about growing human populations on protected area (PA) edges and their contribution to biodiversity threats. This article reviews the conservation literature’s engagements with the question of human migration and population growth on PA edges by reviewing: (1) the normative basis of conservation biology; (2) the development of conservation science in response; (3) conservationist engagements with PAs, migration, and population growth; (4) the engagement with George Wittemyer and colleagues (2008); and (5) the landscape of analyses and debates regarding PAs and their relationship to migration. The review finds that a strong biocentric position of conservation biology is evident and discusses the impacts that this position has on research, conclusions, and policies intended to cope with this growing issue.
Richard J. Ladle and Paul Jepson
The concept of extinction is at the heart of the modern conservation movement, and massive resources have been spent on developing models and frameworks for quantifying and codifying a phenomenon that has been described by American researcher and naturalist Edward O. Wilson as an obscure and local biological process. Scientists, environmentalists, and politicians have repeatedly used extinction rhetoric as a core justification for a global conservation agenda that seeks to influence a wide range of human activities despite the inherent difficulty and uncertainty involved in estimating current and future rates of extinction, or even in verifying the demise of a particular species. In this article we trace the historical origins of the extinction concept and discuss its power to influence policies, agendas, and behaviors. We argue that conservation needs to develop a more culturally meaningful rhetoric of extinction that aligns scientific evidence, cultural frames, institutional frameworks, and organizational interests.
Relationships emerging between corporate actors and environmental conservation organizations range from partnerships in field operations to gifts brokered at the upper echelons of corporate and nongovernmental organization (NGO) management. Drawing on Mauss’s original formulation of “the gift,” I consider the social consequences and contexts of these relationships, over various territorial and temporal scales. I argue that recent critiques of conservation NGOs for having “sold out” to corporate interests obscure a more nuanced view of such relationships, their roots in the history of wildlife conservation under colonial circumstances, and their connections to new modes of hybrid environmental governance. These latter include transformations in corporate practice vis-à-vis consumer preference, processes of certification, and educational impacts on professional training for industry personnel, as well as the adoption by many NGOs of terminologies and planning processes from the corporate world. These relational norms and institutional transformations make any oversimplified notion of corporate responsibility insufficient with respect to environmental sectors.
Veracruz under current Mexican policies
Griselda Benítez, Gerardo Alvarado-Castillo, René A. Palestina, Mara Cortés, Kari Williams and Israel Acosta
English abstract: Green Belts are often proposed as an alternative for containing urban sprawl, restoring ecological processes, recovering connectivity, and maintaining the multi-functionality that cities need. This article analyzes a proposed Green Belt for Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. It is spatially examined through GIS analysis and designed on the notion of Garden City as a strip to circumvent the city. Existing conditions are also discussed. Two existing conservation initiatives are compared to the proposed Green Belt strategy. Its establishment requires agreements between Xalapa and surrounding municipalities. The proposed strategy brings local government and citizens together to preserve the remaining vegetation and thus promote the well-being of local inhabitants.
Spanish abstract: Los cinturones verdes frecuentemente se han propuesto como una alternativa para contener la expansión urbana desordenada, restaurar los procesos ecológicos y recuperar la conectividad, y mantener la multifuncionalidad que las ciudades necesitan. Este artículo analiza un esquema de Cinturón Verde para Xalapa, Veracruz, México. Es espacialmente examinado, diseñado bajo el concepto de Ciudad Jardín, como una franja que rodea a la ciudad, el análisis se elaboró con un SIG. Las condiciones existentes también se discuten. Se comparan dos iniciativas de conservación existentes con la estrategia propuesta de Cinturón Verde. Su establecimiento requiere acuerdos entre Xalapa y los municipios aledaños. La estrategia propuesta requiere reunir a los gobiernos locales y ciudadanos para preservar la vegetación remanente y así promover el bienestar de los habitantes locales.
French abstract Les ceintures vertes sont fréquemment proposées comme une alternative pour limiter l’expansion urbaine désordonnée, restaurer les processus écologiques, récupérer la connectivité et maintenir la multifonctionnalité que les villes requièrent. Cet article analyse une proposition de ceinture verte pour Xalapa dans l’état du Veracruz au Mexique. Celle-ci est examinée et élaborée en particulier à partir du concept de cité-jardin, formée par une trame qui entoure la ville et son analyse a été élaborée par un Système d’information géographique (SIG). Les conditions existantes sont également discutées. Deux initiatives de conservation qui suivent la stratégie de la ceinture verte sont comparées. Leur mise en oeuvre implique des accords entre Xalapa et les municipes des alentours. La stratégie proposée impose la réunion des gouvernements locaux et des citoyens pour préserver la végétation restante et faciliter la promotion du bien-être des habitants.
A Critical Review of the International Development of Voluntary Biodiversity Offsets
This article analyzes the international development of voluntary biodiversity offsets, a conservation instrument that permits developers to pursue their activities if conservation actions are undertaken elsewhere to compensate for the environmental impacts of their projects. Largely undertaken by extractive industries that operate in the global South where no offsetting regulations exist, this tool is currently attracting growing interest from policy makers, private companies, financial institutions, and conservation experts. Building upon the concept of market framing developed by Callon (1998), I explore in what contexts and through what processes this idea has gathered momentum, as well as the disturbing gap between the way it has been framed and its practical implementation. It is suggested that once immersed in the outside world, the market framing of offsets appears as a fragile result dependent upon substantial investments, which casts serious doubts about offsets' ability to reduce biodiversity loss on technical, governance, and social grounds.
New Value for Conservation and Development
Jenny E. Goldstein
An extensive body of research in the natural and social sciences has assessed the social, economic, and ecological causes of tropical forest degradation and forests' subsequent reduction in value. This article, however, takes the afterlives of degraded forests as its point of departure to ask how they are being reconsidered as valuable through conservation and development potential. Through a critical review of recent biophysical and social science literature on tropical forest degradation, this article first assesses the definitional and methodological foundations of tropical forest degradation. It then suggests that recent scholarship on the reincorporation of waste and wasteland into capitalist circuits of production offers one route to consider the value of degraded forests. Finally, this article reviews some of the ways in which these tropical forests are being considered economically and/or ecologically valuable through current conservation and developmental trajectories.