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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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   Table of Contents - Current issue
January-March 2023
Volume 21 | Issue 1
Page Nos. 1-86

Online since Thursday, February 9, 2023

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Understanding the Market Drivers Behind the Reduced Demand for Ivory Products in Japan Highly accessed article p. 1
Laura Thomas-Walters, Benoit Morkel, Takahiro KUBO, Michael 't Sas Rolfes, Robert J Smith, Diogo Veríssimo
Reducing demand for wildlife products has been recognised as an important global priority. However, consumer demand is a complicated phenomenon involving numerous interacting biological and socio-economic factors, operating at a range of scales and time periods. The demand for elephant ivory is an excellent illustration of the gaps in our current knowledge. Although it is well-documented that Japan is no longer a significant destination consumer market for ivory products, we have little insight into the market drivers behind this change. This is partly because post-hoc evaluations are difficult when relying on traditional quantitative methods. We used General Elimination Methodology and semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders to understand the consumer changes in Japan. We identified the two biggest market drivers—the CITES international trade ban and economic recession—as well as a range of minor drivers and enabling conditions. These included respect for government authority, the passive nature of demand for ivory, and a general cultural shift away from conspicuous consumption. This case study highlights the role of theory-based qualitative evaluations in conservation, which recognises that specific outcomes are likely to be caused by multiple contributing factors driven by interactions between different actors.
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The Absent Agent: Orangutans, Communities, and Conservation in Indonesian Borneo p. 17
Viola Schreer
In a time of unprecedented species loss, whose absence matters in international biodiversity conservation? Who or what is made absent in this process, and how? Drawing on scholarship that focuses on the agency of absence, this article explores how the orangutan (Pongo spp.)—a popular conservation flagship species—becomes present in Bornean villagers' lives. It offers a new understanding of flagship species action by examining the complex, often unseen relational dynamics through which orangutans influence community-conservation encounters. As the study shows, conservationists' efforts to mitigate the absence of species through a combination of imaginative, discursive, and material variables inadvertently 'absences' Bornean villagers and their concerns. Reflecting on this process of absencing, the paper moreover discusses how notions of absence inform contemporary conservation thought and action.
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Different Natures of Reality Inform Different Realities of Nature: What Karen Perceptions of Forest Reveal about Nature Conservation in Indigenous Contexts p. 28
Man Han Chit Htoo, Bram Steenhuisen, Bas Verschuuren
Karen people's interactions with the forest are informed by their ontologies. Important aspects of these ontologies are the influence of spirits, the cycle of the moon and communication with nonhumans. We foreground that Karen ontologies and knowledge systems are heterogeneous yet different from other ontologies and knowledge systems informing forest conservation in Myanmar (Burma). We recognise that interaction between Karen people and other conservation actors needs to be understood in the context of socio-economic and transformative political factors and is affected by spirits and other nonhumans. Based on empirical research, we argue that Indigenous people and conservationists can better support each other if they are each understood concerning their own ontology. This way, spirits and other nonhumans can be recognised as having agency in forest management and governance. We demonstrate how spirits, nonhumans and religious beliefs affect Indigenous ontologies and prompt us to think of ontologies as heterogeneous and overlapping. We conclude that moving past Eurocentric dualisms opens up new ways to think about how different ontologies inform our ideas about what is considered important in making forest conservation in Myanmar more sustainable and socially equitable.
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Compatible with Conviviality? Exploring African Ecotourism and Sport Hunting for Transformative Conservation p. 38
Amos Ochieng, Niak Sian Koh, Stasja Koot
Recent decades have shown the increased popularity of market-based instruments (MBIs) for conservation despite mixed social and ecological outcomes. This paper explores the extent to which two crucial MBIs, namely, ecotourism and sport hunting, are compatible with 'convivial conservation', a novel, integrated approach that explores conservation beyond capitalism. We developed an analytical framework of five key features for transformative change that can potentially contribute to conviviality: access and property rights, benefit-sharing, value operationalisation, institutional arrangements, and decision-making processes. We analysed the use of ecotourism and sport hunting in southern and eastern Africa in relation to the five features. Based on 'radical incremental transformation', we applied these features to analyse if, and if so how, incremental changes to these MBIs can be supportive in transitioning conservation towards (further) conviviality. With insights from our extensive research experiences in eastern and southern Africa, we highlight that the institutional design and contextual factors determining power relations are often more important than the choice of instrument in influencing its social and ecological outcomes. In conclusion, we propose a shift in the dialogue on conservation beyond its infatuation with commodification by integrating convivial elements into the design of conservation policies.
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Centering Communities in Conservation through Asset-Based Quality of Life Planning p. 48
Jacob Campbell, Christopher Jarrett, Alaka Wali, Amy Rosenthal, Diana Alvira, Ana Lemos, Mario Longoni, Alexis Winter, Lorena Lopez
Healthy environments are fundamental to the quality of life of communities worldwide. Yet, many efforts to integrate environmental conservation with human well-being have struggled to center local people or failed to be flexible enough to accommodate a diversity of priorities. We present a methodology for community engagement known as Quality of Life (QoL) Planning—a form of rapid assessment, reflection, and consensus-building rooted in community assets. QoL Planning empowers communities to drive the conservation agenda and improve their well-being through conservation. In this paper, we provide an overview of the QoL Planning process and describe some of the positive outcomes it has generated. We compare four case studies from different regions—two in rural communities in Amazonian Peru and two in urban or peri-urban communities in the Chicago region in the United States—and assess some of the major lessons and insights. Lastly, we describe enabling conditions that contribute to the success of QoL Planning and identify important considerations for practitioners interested in implementing the methodology.
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Tackling Conflicts, Supporting Livelihoods: Convivial Conservation in the Campo Ma'an National Park p. 61
Yvonne Kiki Nchanji, Sabaheta Ramcilovic-Suominen, Eileen Bogweh Nchanji, William Armand Mala, Juha Kotilainen
While most of the literature on park management and nature conservation has focused on the negative implications for local people's livelihoods, fewer studies have empirically analysed local people's strategies in responding to these policies and renegotiating their position to continue their traditional livelihoods using their traditional knowledge and legal systems. This study contributes to the current literature on nature conservation by focusing on the impacts of nationally and internationally driven nature conservation policies on indigenous people and local communities (IPLCs) and collective strategies and responses to such policies and initiatives to continue their livelihood and cultural practices. We employ a qualitative research approach, using the convivial conservation theoretical lens to analyse the data collected. We conclude that conservation policies have worsened existing livelihoods and constrained the improvement of indigenous people's livelihoods and local communities. Yet, IPLCs have devised coping mechanisms to deal with the negative effects of these conservation interventions, which include resistance to some conservation policies, agricultural intensification, and involvement in commercial activities. We argue that the convivial conservation approach may offer viable solutions to existing conflicts by promoting human and non-human coexistence, based on indigenous and local people's knowledge and practices.
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What Conservation Is: A Contemporary Inquiry p. 73
Rogelio Luque-Lora
Recent debates regarding conservation's proper objectives have been underlain by the more fundamental question of what conservation is and what it is not. In this essay, I elaborate and justify the following definition: the promotion (or the intended promotion) of the continued existence of valuable things in the living world in extended human time. I then use this definition to ask whether two recent proposals, so-called new conservation and compassionate conservation, are truly conservation. In asking these questions, I explore how conservation relates to ecological change and to the welfare of nonhuman animals. I end by situating conservation within the broader array of societal relations with the living world.
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Hunting Wildlife in the Tropics and Subtropics p. 83
Richard T Corlett
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Asia-Pacific Fishing Livelihoods p. 85
Furqan Asif
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