Rights, Governance, and Conservation of Biological Diversity

Kamaljit Bawa, S and Rai, Nitin and Sodhi, Navjot S (2010) Rights, Governance, and Conservation of Biological Diversity. Conservation Biology, 25 (3). pp. 639-641. ISSN 1523-1739

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Losses of biological diversity, or diversity of life at all levels of biological organization, have crossed a boundary beyond which they pose serious consequences for humanity (Rockstrom et al. 2009). Despite enormous effort by state and global actors to arrest declines in biological diversity, rates of deforestation in the tropics remain high (Asner et al. 2009). Centralized state control of forests and other ecosystems, in the form of national parks and other protected areas, has been a dominant conservation paradigm, and it has been fueled by neoliberal approaches in international conservation (Brockington et al. 2008). The protected-area approach has often resulted in adverse effects on the livelihoods of local people (Saberwal et al. 2001; Adams & Hutton 2007). Due to the high spatial correlation between poverty and high levels of biological diversity (Sachs et al. 2009), attempts have been made to link conservation of biological diversity with livelihoods and poverty alleviation (Adams et al.2004). Such efforts have had limited success due to a lack of understanding of the linkages between poverty and conservation and the absence of state support for alternative approaches (Agrawal & Redford 2006; Lele et al. 2010). Conservation projects in which increasing income is assumed to decrease dependence on resources (Brechin et al. 2002) treat poverty too simply (Sen 1999). We propose that the process of conservation be reenvisioned to include political empowerment to people,restitution of rights and human dignity, and building of local institutions. A human-rights-based approach increases the role of local communities in conservation and the potential for democratic governance of natural resources. Using India as an example, we offer suggestions for developing decentralized mechanisms to restorerights to local communities. Our suggestions are applicable to much of the developing world, where poverty and centralized management of protected areas have not curtailed losses of biological diversity and have alienated local communities (Sodhi et al. 2006). We do not assume that rights-based approaches will mitigate loss of biological diversity, but suggest that efforts based on local knowledge, institutions, and practices will empower local communities to better manage biological diversity.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Society for Conservation Biology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Biological diversity, Conservation, Deforestation, Forest Rights Act, RFRA, Gram Sabhas, Local Governance, Decentralization.
Subjects: C Publications by ATREEians > K Popular Articles
Divisions: Publications by ATREEians > Popular Articles
Depositing User: Ms Kalpana S
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2017 10:54
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2017 10:54
URI: http://eprints.atree.org/id/eprint/554

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