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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Globalisation: Effects on Biodiversity, Environment and Society
David Ehrenfeld
January-March 2003, 1(1):99-111
The march of globalisation seems inexorable, with effects felt throughout the world. These effects include, but are not limited to, reduced genetic diversity in agriculture (loss of crop varieties and livestock breeds), loss of wild species, spread of exotic species, pollution of air, water and soil, accelerated climatic change, exhaustion of resources, and social and spiritual disruption. The market cannot be relied on to control the environmental and other costs of globalisation. Although its present dominance creates an impression of permanence, a conjunction of formidable limiting factors is even now acting to curb the process of globalisation-possibly to end it altogether. Technological fixes cannot overcome these limiting factors. The architects of globalisation have ignored the social, biological and physical constraints on their created system. Critics of globalisation have noted that global free trade promotes the social and economic conditions most likely to undermine its own existence. The same can be said of the biological and physical limiting factors-especially, in the short term, the dwindling supplies of cheap energy. The necessary opposition that has formed to counter the worst features of globalisation must keep its dangerous side-effects in the public eye, and develop alternative, workable socio-economic systems that have a strong regional element and are not dependent on centralised, complex technologies.
  117,746 6,249 -
People, Parks and Poverty: Political Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation
William M Adams, Jon Hutton
April-June 2007, 5(2):147-183
Action to conserve biodiversity, particularly through the creation of protected areas (PAs), is inherently political. Political ecology is a field of study that embraces the interactions between the way nature is understood and the politics and impacts of environmental action. This paper explores the political ecology of conservation, particularly the establishment of PAs. It dis­cusses the implications of the idea of pristine nature, the social impacts of and the politics of PA establishment and the way the benefits and costs of PAs are allocated. It considers three key political issues in contemporary international conservation policy: the rights of indigenous people, the relationship between biodiversity conservation and the reduction of poverty, and the arguments of those advocating a return to conventional PAs that exclude people.
  53,377 14,959 6
Illegal logging in the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, the Philippines
Jan van der Ploeg, Merlijn van Weerd, Andres B Masipiqueña, Gerard A Persoon
July-September 2011, 9(3):202-215
Illegal logging is a threat to biodiversity and rural livelihoods in the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, the largest protected area in the Philippines. Every year between 20,000 and 35,000 cu. m wood is extracted from the park. The forestry service and municipal governments tolerate illegal logging in the protected area; government officials argue that banning an important livelihood activity of households along the forest frontier will aggravate rural poverty. However this reasoning underestimates the scale of timber extraction, and masks resource capture and collusive corruption. Illegal logging in fact forms an obstacle for sustainable rural development in and around the protected area by destroying ecosystems, distorting markets, and subverting the rule of law. Strengthening law enforcement and controlling corruption are prerequisites for sustainable forest management in and around protected areas in insular southeast Asia.
  53,821 2,145 26
Neoliberal Conservation: A Brief Introduction
Jim Igoe, Dan Brockington
October-December 2007, 5(4):432-449
The growing body of work on the 'neoliberalisation of nature' does not as yet pay adequate attention to conservation policy and its impacts. Simi­larly, studies of conservation have much to learn by placing conservation policies in the context of broader social and economic changes that define neoliberalism. In this introduction, we outline and analyse the ways in which viewing conservation through a neoliberal lens adds value (if you will excuse the metaphor) to the collection of critiques we offer, placing quite different geographical areas and case studies in a comparative context. We argue that neoliberalisation involves the reregulation of nature through forms of com­modification. This, in turn, entails new types of territorialisation: the parti­tioning of resources and landscapes in ways that control, and often exclude, local people. Territorialisation is a starkly visible form of reregulation, which frequently creates new types of values and makes those values available to national and transnational elites. Finally, neoliberalisation has also coin­cided with the emergence of new networks that cut across traditional divides of state, non-governmental organisation (NGO), and for-profit enterprise. These networks are rhetorically united by neoliberal ideologies and are com­bining in ways that profoundly alter the lives of rural people in areas targeted for biodiversity conservation. The studies this collection brings together, which are all rooted in place-based detailed research, are united by their ex­perience of these processes. We argue that the disparate collection of cri­tiques on the neoliberalisation of nature needs more grounded studies like these. We conclude this introduction with some tentative recommendations for future research and policy on neoliberal conservation.
  31,991 9,905 2
Sports-hunting, Fairness and Colonial Identity: Collaboration and Subversion in the Northwestern Frontier Region of the British Indian Empire
Shafqat Hussain
April-June 2010, 8(2):112-126
This paper examines the place of hunting in the construction of identity for both British colonial sportsmen and indigenous hunters on the north-western frontier region of the British Indian empire, illustrating how their competing moral orders are placed in tension in the colonial encounter through the shared experience of hunting. I show that the British sportsmen generally used ideas of fairness in hunting to mark themselves off from the indigenous hunters while colonial frontier officers specifically, through their adeptness in hunting, differentiated themselves from other colonial officers. I argue that ideas of fairness had a different place in the indigenous hunting practices, and often clashed with the 'moral ecology' of the colonial hunters. Using the example of 'palming off', I show how unlike the clash of moral ecologies in relation to hunting practices, the process through which the identities of colonial hunters were constructed was a precarious and contingent one in which indigenous collaboration played a crucial role.
  40,251 1,235 8
The Intersections of Biological Diversity and Cultural Diversity: Towards Integration
Jules Pretty, Bill Adams, Fikret Berkes, Simone Ferreira de Athayde, Nigel Dudley, Eugene Hunn, Luisa Maffi, Kay Milton, David Rapport, Paul Robbins, Eleanor Sterling, Sue Stolton, Anna Tsing, Erin Vintinnerk, Sarah Pilgrim
April-June 2009, 7(2):100-112
There is an emerging recognition that the diversity of life comprises both biological and cultural diversity. In the past, however, it has been common to make divisions between nature and culture, arising partly out of a desire to control nature. The range of interconnections between biological and cultural diversity are reflected in the growing variety of environmental sub-disciplines that have emerged. In this article, we present ideas from a number of these sub-disciplines. We investigate four bridges linking both types of diversity (beliefs and worldviews, livelihoods and practices, knowledge bases and languages, and norms and institutions), seek to determine the common drivers of loss that exist, and suggest a novel and integrative path forwards. We recommend that future policy responses should target both biological and cultural diversity in a combined approach to conservation. The degree to which biological diversity is linked to cultural diversity is only beginning to be understood. But it is precisely as our knowledge is advancing that these complex systems are under threat. While conserving nature alongside human cultures presents unique challenges, we suggest that any hope for saving biological diversity is predicated on a concomitant effort to appreciate and protect cultural diversity.
  34,939 5,252 116
Neoliberal environmentality: Towards a poststructuralist political ecology of the conservation debate
Robert Fletcher
July-September 2010, 8(3):171-181
This article proposes a Foucaultian poststructuralist framework for understanding different positions within the contemporary debate concerning appropriate biodiversity conservation policy as embodying distinctive 'environmentalities'. In a recently-released work, Michel Foucault describes a neoliberal form of his familiar concept 'governmentality' quite different from conventional understandings of this oft-cited analytic. Following this, I suggest that neoliberalisation within natural resource policy can be understood as the expression of a 'neoliberal environmentality' similarly distinct from recent discussions employing the environmentality concept. In addition, I follow Foucault in describing several other discrete environmentalities embodied in competing approaches to conservation policy. Finally, I ask whether political ecologists' critiques of mainstream conservation might be viewed as the expression of yet another environmentality foregrounding concerns for social equity and environmental justice and call for more conceptualisation of what this might look like.
  31,399 7,183 157
Conservation and Displacement: An Overview
Arun Agrawal, Kent Redford
January-March 2009, 7(1):1-10
  25,144 6,647 141
Eviction for Conservation: A Global Overview
Daniel Brockington, James Igoe
July-September 2006, 4(3):424-470
Displacement resulting from the establishment and enforcement of protected areas has troubled relationships between conservationists and rural groups in many parts of the world. This paper examines one aspect of dis­placement: eviction from protected areas. We examine divergent opinions about the quality of information available in the literature. We then examine the literature itself, discussing the patterns visible in nearly 250 reports we compiled over the last two years. We argue that the quality of the literature is not great, but that there are signs that this problem is primarily concentrated in a few regions of the world. We show that there has been a remarkable surge of publications about relocation after 1990, yet most protected areas reported in these publications were established before 1980. This reflects two processes, first a move within research circles to recover and rediscover pro­tected areas' murky past, and second stronger enforcement of existing legisla­tion. We review the better analyses of the consequences of relocation from protected areas which are available and highlight areas of future research.
  23,125 6,071 27
Traditional Uses and Conservation of Timur ( Zanthoxylum armatum DC.) through Social Institutions in Uttaranchal Himalaya, India
Chandra Prakash Kala, Nehal A Farooquee, Uppeandra Dhar
January-March 2005, 3(1):224-230
  27,332 1,556 -
Ecosystem Services: Origins, Contributions, Pitfalls, and Alternatives
Sharachchandra Lele, Oliver Springate-Baginski, Roan Lakerveld, Debal Deb, Prasad Dash
October-December 2013, 11(4):343-358
The concept of ecosystem services (ES) has taken the environmental science and policy literature by storm, and has become almost the approach to thinking about and assessing the nature-society relationship. In this review, we ask whether and in what way the ES concept is a useful way of organising research on the nature-society relationship. We trace the evolution of the different versions of the concept and identify key points of convergence and divergence. The essence of the concept nevertheless is that the contribution of biotic nature to human well-being is unrecognised and undervalued, which results in destruction of ecosystems. We discuss why this formulation has attracted ecologists and summarise the resultant contributions to research, particularly to the understanding of indirect or regulating services. We then outline three sets of weaknesses in the ES framework: confusion over ecosystem functions and biodiversity, omission of dis-services, trade-offs and abiotic nature, and the use of an economic valuation framework to measure and aggregate human well-being. Underlying these weaknesses is a narrow problem frame that is unidimensional in its environmental concern and techno-economic in its explanation of environmental degradation. We argue that an alternative framing that embraces broader concerns and incorporates multiple explanations would be more useful, and outline how this approach to understanding the nature-society relationship may be implemented.
  23,362 4,568 102
Dilemmas in Conservationism in Colonial Zimbabwe, 1890-1930
Vimbai C Kwashirai
October-December 2006, 4(4):541-561
During the period between 1890 and 1930, European farmers and miners established commercial farms and mines in the Mazoe District of co­lonial Zimbabwe. The colonial cash economy was dependent on state support in expropriating natural resources at the expense of indigenous people. Min­ers received preferential treatment in timber and energy requirements from the government because they contributed the bulk of state revenue. This policy was a source of protracted conflict between miners and farmers over forest exploitation. However, the state also sought to orient settler farmers towards the production of export crops: tobacco, maize and cotton. The two major pil­lars of the colonial economy, mining and agriculture, directly caused a fun­damental transformation in soil and forest use, leading to deforestation and soil erosion. Soil erosion was a major risk that was faced along with the lo­gistic and financial difficulties of pioneer farming. It however highlighted the negative impact of settler farming, particularly the perennial cultivation of the same crop on the same field, notably tobacco and maize. Land was used for short-term economic gain. What was missing was a willingness on the part of the settler society to deal effectively with the problems of deforestation and erosion, and the need for radical change in individual and collective attitudes towards natural resources.
  21,601 1,186 -
Culture as Concept and Influence in Environmental Research and Management
Lesley Head, David Trigger, Jane Mulcock
April-June 2005, 3(2):251-264
Given that human activities have been implicated in the vast ma­jority of contemporary environmental problems, it might be expected that re­search effort into those activities and the attitudes from which they stem would be both strongly supported by funding agencies, and of central interest to environmental scientists and land managers. In this paper we focus on an undervalued area of environmental humanities research-cultural analysis of the beliefs, practices and often unarticulated assumptions which underlie hu­man-environmental relations. In discussing how cultural processes are cen­tral to environmental attitudes and behaviours, and how qualitative research methods can be used to understand them in depth, we aim to address the prac­tical challenges of environmental sustainability. Using examples from re­search on diverse cultural engagements with Australian environments, we aim to stimulate further dialogue and interaction among humanities and natural science scholars and practitioners.
  20,439 2,039 -
Private-community Partnerships: Investigating a New Approach to Conservation and Development in Uganda
Wilber Manyisa Ahebwa, V René Van der Duim, Chris G Sandbrook
October-December 2012, 10(4):305-317
Nature-based tourism is well recognised as a tool that can be used for neoliberal conservation. Proponents argue that such tourism can provide revenue for conservation activities, and income generating opportunities and other benefits for local people living at the destination. Private-Community Partnerships (PCPs) are a particular form of hybrid intervention in which local benefits are claimed to be guaranteed through shared ownership of the tourism venture. In this paper, we evaluate one such partnership involving a high-end tourist eco-lodge at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. We examine the introduction, development, and implementation of this partnership using the policy arrangement approach. This is done through analysing the actors involved and excluded in the process, the emergence of coalitions and forces, power relations, the governing rules, and the role of framing discourses. The analysis reveals that the technical conceptualisation of the partnership arrangement failed to take proper account of political and contextual factors, resulting in escalating conflict up to the national level. The paper concludes that while more time is needed to evaluate the full impact of hybrid neoliberal approaches such as PCP, the unbalanced power relations they imply can create fertile conditions for political conflict that ultimately undermines their 'win-win' goals.
  9,191 12,955 14
The Kaziranga National Park: Dynamics of Social and Political History
Arupjyoti Saikia
April-June 2009, 7(2):113-129
Almost after a century of experimenting, Kaziranga National Park is now a well-known example of the success of wildlife conservation. Conservationists have no hesitation in ascribing the success of this story to the careful application of the science of wildlife conservation. A large section of the Assamese middle class would like to associate the institution as organic to their success story. For the state too it is a matter of pride. This journey of success is not a linear growth of success and a re-look into the social and political history of this national park will help us understand the complexities underlying these claims. The ideological paradigms of wildlife conservation in Kaziranga National Park have changed significantly over a long period. Since its establishment as a game sanctuary in the early twentieth century and gradually being given the status of a national park, Kaziranga has experienced varied forms of conservation agenda. Rather than a mere technological explanation for the success of the conservation project of Kaziranga, more of it was based on the social and political history.
  20,451 1,581 2
Commercialisation of Forests, Timber Extraction and Deforestation in Uttaranchal, 1815-1947
Dhirendra Datt Dangwal
January-March 2005, 3(1):110-133
This article discusses the process of deforestation during the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century in Uttaranchal. Deforestation in this article is not only identified in terms of the declining vegetational cover but also as extracting more wood than the regenerative capacity of forests. Unsustainable extraction of forest resources does not directly lead to denudation, but to a slow degradation not likely to be apparent until a long time. Thus deforestation has also been linked to the production of wood - a connection which has not yet been carefully analysed by scholars. An analysis of wood production will not only help in historicising the process of deforestation but also in identifying various factors responsible for it. We have analysed in three phases, the extent of wood extraction, which intensified since the late nineteenth century. An attempt has been made to study the changing nature of demand for forest produce. We have discussed how new demands emerged and thereby increased the pressure on forests. Also discussed is the argument that the forest department's management of reserved forests was far from sustainable. The felling prescriptions of the Working Plans, based on questionable data, were frequently violated by foresters for economic exigencies. The result was degradation and denudation of timberlands.
  19,524 1,234 -
Conservation, relocation and the social consequences of conservation policies in protected areas: Case study of the Sariska Tiger Reserve, India
Maria Costanza Torri
January-March 2011, 9(1):54-64
The coercive, top-down approach to managing protected areas has created socio-cultural disruption and often even failed to conserve biodiversity. This top-down conservation approach has led to management decisions seriously threatening the livelihood and cultural heritage of local people, such as the resettlement programme established to move people from villages inside the park, and the reduction of access to resources and traditional rights. This article presents findings from an analysis of the resettlement program, documenting the consequences of the relocation process on people's livelihood in the Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India. The results show that local people have had little influence on the relocation process, and hardly any say on the limitations of access and use of resources linked to the constitution of this protected area. The article challenges the existing conservation paradigm practiced currently by the authorities in most protected areas in India, and calls for park management to rethink their vision of conservation, by adopting new approaches toward a more collaborative paradigm integrating conservation and development needs.
  18,262 2,115 24
Sitting on the fence? policies and practices in managing human-wildlife conflict in Limpopo province, South Africa
Brandon P Anthony, Peter Scott, Alexios Antypas
July-September 2010, 8(3):225-240
Human-wildlife conflicts are the product of socio-economic and political landscapes and are contentious because the resources concerned have economic value and species are often high profile and legally protected. Within a governance framework, we detail institutional roles and the effectiveness of policies and practices of controlling damage-causing animals (DCAs) at Kruger National Park (KNP) and Limpopo Province along KNP's western border. Most DCAs originate from the park, significantly affecting its long-term legitimacy among local communities. Between 2002 and 2004, over 12% of households within 15 km of the park experienced DCA damage, with incidents significantly correlated with being located closer to KNP and having higher numbers of mammalian livestock. These incidents are affecting opinions concerning KNP, as those who experienced damage were less likely to believe that the park would ever help their household economically. According to 482 DCA incident records from 1998 to 2004, the most problematic species are buffalo, lion, elephant, hippo and crocodile. Limpopo Province utilised professional hunters in DCA control, however, widespread abuses including the direct luring of lion led to a national moratorium on specific hunting practices. DCA procedures are highly flawed due to ambiguity concerning species and movement of DCAs, poor reporting, inadequate response times, overlapping responsibilities, and corruption. These are exacerbated by weak and, in some cases, competing institutions. Further, the controversial issue of undelivered compensation is determining negative attitudes by communities towards institutions who have historically promised it. Drawing on good governance principles, we offer recommendations on alleviating DCA conflicts in such contexts.
  17,754 2,099 26
It's like herding monkeys into a conservation enclosure: The formation and establishment of the Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Fred Saunders
October-December 2011, 9(4):261-273
This manuscript examines a project that is representative of an emerging trend of new generation Integrated Conservation Development Projects in parts of Africa that combine socio-economic development with an emphasis on local institutional change. These 'local' projects are interlinked with global networks of conservation interests that provide technical expertise and resourcing. In the Jozani-Chawka Bay area, project planners brokered a community governance and benefit sharing agreement that has been lauded as a watershed moment for conservation policy in Zanzibar. Key hurdles for establishing Zanzibar's first national park, the Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park, were limiting community access to customary forest resources, farmer-red colobus monkey conflict, and setting up a supportive institutional arrangement. The conflict resolution and institutional strategies adopted by the conservation planners with the aid of international funding provide insights that help explain why the project has been able to maintain a 'fragile' localised compliance with conservation goals at the Jozani-Pete village. This has been achieved despite lingering resentment over red colobus crop damage claims, and perceptions of insignificant conservation related benefits flowing to individuals and communities. This finding raises broader concerns about whether containment strategies to ground fragile project arrangements are conducive to engendering the longer term support of local communities for new generation Integrated Conservation Development Projects.
  8,212 11,242 6
Assessing the Relationship Between Human Well-being and Ecosystem Services: A Review of Frameworks
Matthew Agarwala, Giles Atkinson, Benjamin Palmer Fry, Katherine Homewood, Susana Mourato, J Marcus Rowcliffe, Graham Wallace, EJ Milner-Gulland
October-December 2014, 12(4):437-449
Focusing on the most impoverished populations, we critically review and synthesise key themes from dominant frameworks for assessing the relationship between well-being and ecosystem services in developing countries. This requires a differentiated approach to conceptualising well-being that appropriately reflects the perspectives of the poorest-those most directly dependent on ecosystem services, and their vulnerability to external and policy-driven environmental change. The frameworks analysed draw upon environmental sciences, economics, psychology, sociology, and anthropology, and were selected on the basis of their demonstrated or potential ability to illustrate the relationship between environmental change and human well-being, as well as their prevalence in real world applications. Thus, the synthesis offered here is informed by the various theoretical, methodological, and hermeneutical contributions from each field to the notion of well-being. The review highlights several key dimensions that should be considered by those interested in understanding and assessing the impact of environmental change on the well-being of the world's poorest people: the importance of interdisciplinary consideration of well-being, the need for frameworks that integrate subjective and objective aspects of well-being, and the central importance of context and relational aspects of well-being. The review is of particular interest to those engaged in the post-2015 development agenda.
  17,127 2,040 43
Community Conservation, Inequality and Injustice: Myths of Power in Protected Area Management
Dan Brockington
April-June 2004, 2(2):411-432
The principle of local support states that protected areas cannot survive without the support of their neighbours. It is the dominant motif of much writing about community conservation and the integration of conservation with development. However, we should be sceptical of it for several reasons. First, it implies that the weak can defeat the agendas of the strong. Second, the principle ignores the fact that inequality and injustice tend to be perpetrated about the globe. It is not existence of poverty or injustice that will cause problems for conservation, but their distribution within society. Third, a detailed case study from the Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania shows how conservation can flourish despite local opposition. Advocates of community conservation need to pay more attention to fortress conservation's strengths and especially its powerful myths and repre­sentations. Understanding how inequality and conservation are successfully perpetrated will make it easier to understand the politics of more participatory community conservation projects.
  14,450 3,852 -
Strangers in their own land: Maasai and wildlife conservation in Northern Tanzania
Mara J Goldman
January-March 2011, 9(1):65-79
Despite dramatic transformations in conservation rhetoric regarding local people, indigenous rights, and community-oriented approaches, conservation in many places in Tanzania today continues to infringe on human rights. This happens through the exclusion of local people as knowledgeable active participants in management, policy formation, and decision-making processes in land that 'belongs' to them and on which their livelihoods depend. In this paper, I focus on a relatively new conservation area designed on the Conservation Trust Model-Manyara Ranch in Monduli district in northern Tanzania. I present this case as a conservation opportunity lost, where local Maasai who were initially interested in utilising the area for conservation, have come to resent and disrespect the conservation status of the area, after having lost it from their ownership and control. I illustrate how the denial of Maasai memories, knowledge, and management practices in Manyara Ranch threaten the future viability of the place both for conservation and for Maasai use. The paper contributes to a growing literature as well as a set of concerns regarding the relationship between conservation and human rights.
  15,986 2,303 40
Addressing the Social Impacts of Conservation: Lessons from Experience and Future Directions
Jenny Springer
January-March 2009, 7(1):26-29
  15,490 2,260 15
Striving for a balance: Nature, power, science and India's Indira Gandhi, 1917-1984
Mahesh Rangarajan
October-December 2009, 7(4):299-312
Indira Gandhi's life (1917-1984) spanned much of the twentieth century. She was Prime Minister of the world's largest democracy for two spells that totaled fifteen years. To this day, her environmental legacy remains one that divides critics from admirers. One sees it as a defense against ecological impoverishment, especially in her initiation of wildlife preservation and environmental conservation. The other views these as thin legitimization for an authoritarian style of functioning. The two are not antithetical, but neither does justice to the subject nor indeed to her times. Drawing on her decades of letter writing to and from her father Jawaharlal Nehru and her speeches, the article also looks in some detail at her executive actions as Prime Minister. Issues of nature can hardly be separated from the political problems that bedeviled India in the late 1960s. Serious food shortages led to increased reliance on US food aid, but the Indian bid for autonomy led to inevitable strains over the issue. The Green Revolution reduced reliance on the West. It was paralleled by a sustained engagement with conservation issues that continued beyond the 1971 war with Pakistan. Here, the Indira period is divided into two broad parts, with a leftward tilt, especially around 1969, and a shift to a more pro-business attitude after 1980. These changes were also evident vis a vis forests and wildlife. Ecological patriotism requires careful attention for saving nature, although statist intervention was a concomitant of India's unique place in the Cold War later. As US contacts thawed; the opening was complemented by shifts in the political economy. Similarly, arbitrary slum demolition and forcible family planning were part of a larger shift to coercive polices during the 18-month long Emergency period. The article ends by asking how to study contemporary politics to better comprehend our ecological dilemmas. Even as ecological processes and economic exchanges unify the world, divisions between and within nation states are central to most issues. By looking at a key figure of the latter half of the twentieth century, the article hopes to shed fresh light on how to look at the relations of nature, science, and power.
  16,410 1,305 6
The Butterfly House Industry: Conservation Risks and Education Opportunities
Michael Boppré, RI Vane-Wright
July-September 2012, 10(3):285-303
This paper addresses the mass supply and use of butterflies for live exhibits, discusses the risks to biodiversity which this creates, and the educational opportunities it presents. Over the past 30 years a new type of insect zoo has become popular worldwide: the butterfly house. This has given rise to the global Butterfly House Industry (BHI) based on the mass production of butterfly pupae as a cash crop. Production is largely carried out by privately-owned butterfly farms in tropical countries, notably Central America and Southeast Asia. Most pupae are exported to North America and Europe, although the number of butterfly houses in tropical countries is growing. The BHI is described with respect to its stakeholders, their diverse interests, and its extent. It is estimated that the global turnover of the BHI is in the order of USD 100 million. From a conservation perspective, there is a tension between risks and benefits. The risks to biodiversity are primarily unsustainable production, potential bastardisation of local faunas and floras, and genetic mixing within and even between butterfly species. This paper discusses general ways of managing these risks. Ethical concerns range from fair trade issues to animal husbandry and the use of wildlife for entertainment. For the risks to biodiversity and unresolved ethical issues to be tolerable, the BHI needs to make a significant contribution to conservation, primarily through effective education about butterfly biology as a means to raise public awareness of basic ecological processes, and conservation and environmental issues. It should also engage with local conservation initiatives. Currently the BHI's great potential for public good in these respects is rarely realised. The paper concludes by looking at the special nature of the BHI, and its need for effective self-regulation if it is to continue to escape from public scrutiny and the introduction of restrictive regulations. The BHI needs to engage in active cooperation between its various stakeholders regarding a raft of critical issues if it is to survive and fulfil a beneficial role in society. The BHI also needs to forge active partnerships with conservation NGOs, educationalists, and scientists-communities that also need to recognise their own responsibilities towards the industry. We also discuss the need for an effective umbrella organisation for the BHI, as well as a "Code for trading and exhibiting live butterflies".
  15,742 1,229 8