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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.

Did indigenous conservation ethics exist?

Abstract - Despite the common assertion that some indigenous peoples were conservationists, a number of authors have claimed that persuasive evidence for this is lacking. They have, apparently, overlooked such evidence. It is well documented, for example, that centuries ago Pacific Islanders invented and employed all the basic marine conservation measures that Europeans began to use only in the early 1900s. For islanders to have devised and employed deliberate conservation measures, they first had to learn that their natural resources were limited. They could only have done so by depleting them. Evidence that a culture overharvested or otherwise damaged its natural resources at some period in its history is no proof that it was, for all times, non-conservationist. Some Pacific Island cultures learned that their marine resources were limited and introduced marine conservation measures accordingly. Others never learned this lesson because their marine resources always exceeded harvesting pressure. I suggest that a worldwide survey of relevant literature would show that societies that developed con-scious conservation practices were usually small and relied on natural resources that were circum-scribed and thus easily depleted. Today, in an era of shrinking natural resource frontiers, establishing whether a conservation ethic exists in an indigenous culture is a vital first step in determining how to help its people live within their natural resource limits.

More… Mar 16, 2019

Just Conservation - What is it and how should we pursue it?

Frameworks for resolving conflict sometimes neglect basic principles of conservation; and frameworks for resolving conflict sometimes neglect basic principles of social justice.

Efforts to realize conservation are often met with stakeholders contending that particular conservation actions are unfair for conflicting with their basic interests. A useful lens through which to view such conflict is social justice, which may be considered the fair treatment of others judged according three principles: equality, need, and desert (noun form of deserve). We formally demonstrate that (i) the subject of social justice (others) includes many non-human elements of nature and (ii) realizing conservation that is also socially just requires being guided by a non-anthropocentrism principle, whereby no human should infringe on the well-being of others any more than is necessary for a healthy, meaningful life. The concept, “healthy, meaningful life” is less vague and subjective than might be presupposed. That concept is for example subject to considerable objective reasoning through social and behavioral sciences. We indicate how realizing socially-just conservation requires another guiding, safeguard principle: If a significant and genuine conservation interest calls for restricting a human interest, that restriction should occur except when doing so would result in injustice. When the restriction would be unjust every effort should be made by all involved parties to mitigate the restriction to the point of no longer being unjust. This principle covers concerns often raised when conservation is opposed – e.g., financial costs, loss of cultural tradition. We explain how these two principles are neglected or excluded by many methods for resolving conservation conflicts and collaborative governance of natural resources.

More… Jan 29, 2019

Transborder Protected Areas, Green Infrastructure, and Local Communities:

Perspectives on the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area.

An overview of the issues, opportunities constraints and problems affecting the world's largest multi-country park.

More… Jun 19, 2018

Hunting in Africa: to ban or not to ban is the question

Hunting has long been a highly controversial activity, whether as a sport (leisure or recreational), for commercial purposes or if done for cultural reasons. African countries that legalise hunting activities experience scrutiny around their conservation efforts, and how much money they make from it.

More… Jul 30, 2015

The Old Way and the New Way:

Interactions and Connections among San, Lions, and Elephants in the Kalahari

Professor Hitchcock discusses what we've failed to learn and respect and what we've too often replaced it with - "In March, 2012, Roy Sesana, a G//ana healer and a member of the organization First People of the Kalahari, came across a herd of elephants in his garden near Molapo in the Central Kalahari. Employing the principles of the Old Way, he talked to them and told them to leave, which they did. He did not employ New Way techniques to handle human elephant conflict such as problem animal control, having the elephants captured and relocated to another place. Instead, he simply talked to them."

More… Dec 14, 2014

Uvinje Village & Saadani National Park, Tanzania

Saadani was initially a game reserve created in the 1960s, partly at the behest of local residents concerned over seeing outsiders come in and indiscriminately kill wildlife. Saadani village contributed land for the reserve. However, when the game reserve became a national park records of the boundaries became scarce. Recent research seems to have done a thorough job of confirming the claims by local residents that the Tanzania National Parks Authority has arbitrarily redrawn park boundaries to snap up additional village land. Now they are ready to evict residents of Uvinje Sub-village.

More… Jun 11, 2014

Lessons Learned From Community Forestry In Latin America And Their Relevance For REDD+

This report is one of four reports on “Lessons Learned from Community Forestry and Their Relevance for REDD+" produced for USAID.

Latin America is unique compared with Africa and Asia for several reasons. The Latin America region offers multiple advantages for REDD+. South America has 25 percent of the world's forests and 40 percent of the world’s biodiversity. Only 1.4 percent of Latin America’s forests are plantations; 98.6 percent of Latin American forests are natural forests. Large areas of forest are under indigenous and community tenure – a key base for community forestry and REDD+ success. Rural population density is low. In Latin America, it is very feasible to build on and nurture existing community forestry to achieve REDD+ goals.

More… Jan 27, 2014

A National Park, River-dependent Sonahas, and a Biocultural Space in Peril

Chapter 5 of the The Right to Responsibility - Resisting and Engaging Development, Conservation and the Law in Asia

Natural Justice and the United Nations University – Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) have just released a new book for peer review, entitled: The Right to Responsibility: Resisting and Engaging Development, Conservation, and the Law in Asia. This edited volume explores how Indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ resilience to external factors is often undermined by laws, institutional arrangements, and judicial systems. It also examines how particular peoples and communities are striving to overcome such structural barriers to self-determination by resisting unwanted developments and engaging proactively with a range of actors at multiple scales.

More… Jul 19, 2013