Producing Wildlife: The Unanticipated Natures of Conservation in India
|Speaker:||Paul Robbins, University of Arizona|
|Date:||Wed, Oct 3, 2007|
Additional InformationAs police-like enclosures have given way to participatory management in India only to be supplanted by a return to fortress conservation, the practical problem of making wildlife conservation work has only become more muddled. Can chaotic, semi-humanized environments be controlled to protect rare endemic wildlife? Reviewing current interdisciplinary research at the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Reserve in Rajasthan, preliminary findings suggest that many wildlife species - those adapted to rule-breaking and illegal grazing, including wolves, panthers, langur monkeys, and sloth bear - have managed to survive and thrive, while others have declined. So too, while invasive species have harmed habitats for many species, they have allowed the survival of others. Finally, while the costs of adjacency to reserves has been high for many local households, it has been a boon for others. These outcomes have not been a result of planned or controlled management, but instead of a self-organizing pattern that emerges in the daily struggle for productive resources. This suggests that while wildlife species cannot be preserved by even the most zealous international efforts, they might instead be produced. So too, while behaviors of local people cannot be controlled by zealous conservationists, they might be accommodated to yield surprising progress in both environment and development.
Paul Robbins has published extensively on forestry in India and lawns in Ohio. He is the author of the widely used textbook from Blackwell, Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction.