Indigenous Populations And Conservation Essay

1824 words - 7 pages

There have been debates mentioned by Dove (2006:197) questioning whether any indigenous populations have actually practiced conservation. This however, is based on a Western model and understanding of conservation. Examining how conservation is seen by non-Western people needs more critical considerations (Dove 2006:197). Conservation, as stated by indigenous people who attended the Fifth World’s Congress meeting, can be implemented without Western “models, management plans, or monitoring and evaluation” (Brosius 2004:611). This begins to challenge the assumptions of conservation, and the roles that science and large conservation organizations should be taking (Brosius 2004:611). “Shepard’s 2006 long-term research (as cited by Dove 2006:198) in Peru’s Manu National Park has questioned the Western assumption that resource conservation is not being practiced among local communities. Another study by Schwartzman et. al. (2000) even argues that local populations may be the best equipped for conservation against threats from private and public sectors (as cited by Dove 2006:198).
One factor in conservation is the intention to conserve (Dove 2006:197); however, there is also a modern practice f transforming unconscious actions to conscious decisions (Dove 2006:197). In a research study working with the Kayapo, it is suggested that the Kayapo amplified the conscious decisions towards their practices of resource-management. However, those practices are also seen as part of everyday lives, some of which can be described as unconscious (as cited by Dove 2006:197). It can even be stated that behavior towards conserving natural resources are unintentional (Dove 2006:197). While there is not a real divide between the unintentional and intentional need for conservation and resource management, this may reflect more the differences between “modernity and premodernity” rather than between those who conserve and those who do not (Dove 2006:198).
In 1980, the World Conservation Strategy was created and aimed to combine conservation efforts with human development (Dove 2006:198) since it was decided that the goals of conservation and indigenous rights can be conjoined (Brosius 2004:611). The Integrated Conservation and Development Projects and Extractive Reserves (ICDP) is one such project that focused on communities’ standards of living, especially those next or within protected areas, that became popular. One reason for ICDP’s approach was the assumption that the standard of living determined how much pressure was being placed on natural resources (Dove 2006:198).
Some conservationists assume that nature is fragile and needs protection and regulations from humans. The development projects that are people-oriented and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) who focus on community lifestyles, believe that those development projects protect against commercialization and fosters the use of traditional knowledge towards conservation (Forsyth and Walker 2008:9)....

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