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Wildlife Conservation and Protected Areas: Darwin, Marx, and Modern Science in the Search for Patterns that Connect

A review of important recent contributions to the literature on terrestrial protected areas. To be followed by an article dealing with marine protected areas.
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   Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy, 13(4) (2010) ISSN: 1388-0292 print  Wildlife Conservation and Protected Areas: Darwin,Marx, and Modern Science in the Search for Patterns thatConnect G EOFFREY W ANDESFORDE -S MITH   N ICHOLAS S.J.   W ATTS †  A RIELLE L EVINE ‡   1. INTRODUCTION The recent appearance in print of the first and so far only comprehensive and criticalassessment of the global proliferation of protected areas and, more importantly andmore usefully of their meaning and significance in the modern world, 1 is a publishingevent this  Journal cannot possibly fail to notice. Even though this contribution to theliterature on wildlife and protected areas sidesteps marine protected areas, and focusesinstead, as do so many other analyses of protected areas, on the national parks andgame reserves and other sorts of terrestrially demarcated units the world has longdepended upon for wildlife and habitat conservation, the appearance of this work, itseems to us, is a landmark event.Context is always critical in our view, and in this case the context is one of substantial intellectual ferment. The publication of this first broad global overview of the srcins, purposes, and limitations of protected areas, a work that overall isadmirably ambitious and audacious, occurs in an environment in which two other  Emeritus Professor of Political Science, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA. E-mail:gawsmith@ucdavis.edu The authors acknowledge the helpful comments of Elizabeth De Santo. † Faculty of Applied Social Sciences, London Metropolitan University, London N5 2AD, UK,Education Adviser, Commonwealth Human Ecology Council, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.E-mail: nicholaswatts@mac.com ‡ Fisheries Monitoring and Socioeconomic Division, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, NationalOceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA. E-mail: arielle.levine@noaa.gov 1 D AN B ROCKINGTON ,   R OSALEEN D UFFY &   J IM I GOE ,   N ATURE U NBOUND :   C ONSERVATION ,   C APITALISMAND THE F UTURE OF P ROTECTED A REAS (2008), hereinafter N ATURE U NBOUND .  important new titles have also recently made an appearance, one asking us to think more deeply about the past of protected areas and the other about their future.The first of these two other new titles is a large, predominantly descriptive, andretrospective compendium of essays on the evolution of wildlife conservation policiesin southern Africa. 2 It is a companion to an earlier collection more narrowly focusedon protected areas and rural development. 3 The new collection of some twenty-sixpapers makes the argument that in the countries of southern Africa the prevailingtheory and vision of wildlife conservation stand apart from those associated withEurope and America. The history and methods of wildlife conservation practice areappreciably different in southern Africa, too, and very much more rooted in rural ideasabout how to advance the wise use of land than in urban or metropolitan notions abouthow to accomplish single species or wilderness preservation. 4  In an earlier and quite separate and more scholarly work of comparativeenvironmental history, there is an even more convincing demonstration that the key tounderstanding the history of wildlife conservation around the world may lie more inthe differentiation of national experiences rather than their homogenization. 5 It wouldbe going too far to claim that  Nature Unbound  6 sees the history of conservation andprotected areas as homogenized, stemming from a single formative event, such as thedesignation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, and then diffusing around theglobe, albeit with marked national variations. But that notion of a single diaspora hasheld great attraction since the appearance in 1999 of a comparative treatment of environmental history in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. 7   2 E VOLUTION AND I NNOVATION IN W ILDLIFE C ONSERVATION :   P ARKS AND G AME R ANCHES TO T RANSFRONTIER C ONSERVATION A REAS (Helen Suich & Brian Child, assisted by Anna Spenceley eds.,2009), hereinafter E VOLUTION &   I NNOVATION . 3 P ARKS IN T RANSITION :   B IODIVERSITY ,   R URAL D EVELOPMENT AND THE B OTTOM L INE (Brian Child ed.,2004) 4 Any of the standard works on the evolution of American wildlife law can be used to trace the wayagriculture and its intolerance for predators and pests, as well as sport hunting, exerted their influenceon the designation and management of protected areas in the United States. See T HOMAS L UND ,   A MERICAN W ILDLIFE L AW (1980); T HOMAS D UNLAP ,   S AVING A MERICA ‟ S W ILDLIFE (1988); M ICHAEL B EAN &   M ELANIE R OWLAND ,   T HE E VOLUTION OF N ATIONAL W ILDLIFE L AW (3 rd ed. 1997); R OBERT F ISCHMAN ,   T HE N ATIONAL W ILDLIFE R EFUGES :   C OORDINATING A C ONSERVATION S YSTEM THROUGH L AW (2003); D ALE G OBLE &   E RIC F REYFOGLE ,   W ILDLIFE L AW :   C ASES &   M ATERIALS (2 nd ed. 2010) 5 W ILLIAM B EINART ,   T HE R ISE OF C ONSERVATION IN S OUTH A FRICA :   S ETTLERS ,   L IVESTOCK , AND THE E NVIRONMENT 1770-1950 (2003). The editors of and contributors to E VOLUTION AND I NNOVATION , supra note 2, acknowledge their intellectual debt to Beinart but do so rather curiously by citing a paperBeinart published in 1984, twenty-five years before their own book was released. [William Beinart, Soilerosion, conservationism and ideas about development: A southern African exploration 1900-1960 , 2 J.   S.   A FR .   S TUD . 52-83 (1984)]. It is a mystery why they do not seek to align themselves with the powerand sophistication Beinart has now achieved in his arguments about the history of conservation in SouthAfrica and its place in comparative environmental history. But then it is a mystery, too, why there isabsolutely no reference anywhere in E VOLUTION AND I NNOVATION , supra note 2, where the experienceof CAMPFIRE (Communal Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources) in Zimbabwelooms large, to a landmark work on CAMPFIRE, R OSALEEN D UFFY ,   K ILLING FOR C ONSERVATION :   W ILDLIFE P OLICY IN Z IMBABWE (2000). 6 N ATURE U NBOUND , supra note 1. 7 T HOMAS R.   D UNLAP ,   N ATURE AND THE E NGLISH D IASPORA :   E NVIRONMENT AND H ISTORY IN THE U NITED S TATES ,   C ANADA ,   A USTRALIA , AND N EW Z EALAND (1999). But see also W ILLIAM B EINART &    And the tendency to imagine that problems with protected areas around the world notonly have the same srcins but are also at the present time trending in the samedirection is hard to resist, given the universalizing influence, for example, of suchforces as the extinction crisis, economic globalization, and climate change.In other words, the new book about evolution and innovation in wildlifeconservation in southern Africa is contrarian. While it is not bereft of strongintellectual underpinnings in the normal science of conservation and the institutionalanalyses of political economists, 8 and also has enthusiastic support from a largenumber of conservation practitioners, 9 it cuts against the grain of more mainstreamviews that the history of protected areas has followed and is following much the sametrajectory everywhere and that it now everywhere confronts the same challenges forthe future. 10  As a guide to this future, the book invokes Charles Darwin and the qualities he “found essential to the adaptability of life on Earth –  the variety and competition that drive evolution.” 11 This is a quite different starting point for thinking about the futureof wildlife conservation and protected areas than that offered by Karl Marx, whoseideas about the alienation and fetishization of nature, and the underlying metabolic riftbetween commodities and their ecological context, others see as a preface forconfronting one of conservation‟s main challenges, namely the discovery of “innovative ways of helping people see the ecology of their consumptive practicesthrough connections to the environment.” 12   P ETER C OATES ,   E NVIRONMENT &   H ISTORY :   T HE T AMING OF N ATURE IN THE USA AND S OUTH A FRICA  (1995). 8 The baseline reference is to E LINOR O STROM ,   G OVERNING THE C OMMONS :   T HE E VOLUTION OF I NSTITUTIONS FOR C OLLECTIVE A CTION (1990). The literature on common property managementregimes (CPRs) is nothing, however, if not vast, and it is shot through with confusing cross referencesto common pool resources (also often referred to as CPRs). See the identification and differentiation of both CPRs in N ATURE U NBOUND , supra note 1 at 99-104. 9 The key but not the only sustained network of professional practice within which the contributions toE VOLUTION &   I NNOVATION , supra note 2, have been developed is that of the Southern AfricanSustained Use Specialist Group (SASUSG), one of many such groups hosted by the Species SurvivalCommission of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Earlier, in the 1960s, the Southern AfricanCommission for the Conservation and Utilization of the Soil (SARCCUS) was also an important venuefor networking and learning. 10 In addition to the extinction crisis, economic globalization, and climate change, all of which are giventheir due in N ATURE U NBOUND , supra note 1, the book also sees challenges posed to protected areasaround the world from community conservation, the accommodation of indigenous peoples, andtourism (ch. 5, 6, and 7, respectively). 11 Brian Child,  Innovations in State, Private and Communal Conservation, in E VOLUTION &   I NNOVATION , supra note 2 at 427. 12 N ATURE U NBOUND , supra note 1 at 190. We do not want to overplay the notion that the authors of N ATURE U NBOUND and the contributors to E VOLUTION &   I NNOVATION are directly and self-consciouslyengaged with each other in an ideological contest over how to interpret the past of protected areas andproject their future. We will, however, say two things. One is that ideological and scientificdisagreements are no strangers to the literature on protected areas. They do not, for obvious reasons,frequently surface in the scientific literature, but in the context of marine protected areas, for example,they are bravely treated in Tundi Agardy,  Dangerous targets? Unresolved issues and ideologicalclashes around marine protected areas , 13 A QUATIC C ONSERVATION :   M ARINE &   F RESHWATER E COSYSTEMS 353-367 (2003). Secondly, there are times when both of these books seem right on theedge of what might be a fascinating political dialog but neither quite grasps the nettle. Child, who  This view that the future of wildlife conservation and protected areas is verymuch bound up with a search for “ patterns that connect ” 13 is at the core of a third newbook, 14 more or less contemporaneous with  Nature Unbound  15 and  Evolution & Innovation 16 and from the same publisher, 17 but not at all concerned with eitherDarwin or Marx. This book about connectivity conservation is somewhat descriptiveand retrospective, because it includes summary case studies of experiences with themapping and management of natural connectivity across large regions in various partsof the world, chiefly though not entirely in mountainous places. The iconic instance ina North American context is the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y),but there are many others scattered throughout the world. 18   worked for wildlife authorities in Zimbabwe for twelve years, writes, for example, that the innovations he describes “ste m from the policy insight that the interests of wildlife are best served by placing it inthe marketplace, and modifying institutions to ensure that its comparative economic advantage isreflected in the day-to-day decisions of landholders. Wildlife lives on people‟s land, and the best way to conserve it is to maximize the benefits that landholders are able to derive from it  –  obviously includingfinancial benefits from hunting and tourism, aesthetic values and environmental services, and lessobviously, bu t importantly, proprietary rights and discretionary choices over wildlife.” E VOLUTION &   I NNOVATION , supra note 2 at 434. But when Brockington et al. write about conservation in southernAfrica their first observation is that in post- independence Zimbabwe “ the notion of privatized wildlife was politically controversial…, given the centrality of the land question and the continued racialdisparity in ownership…. The conservancies (or private parks) were to become financially viable and profitable through the development of wildlife tourism, including sport hunting…[but] this form of wildlife ranching (as it is often called)…was really about sidestepping the post -independence government‟s stated commitment from 1990 to compulsory purchase of land that was defin ed as „underutilized.‟… These concerns about the development of private parks and their implications for land redistribution have also arisen in the growth of private reserves in South Africa.” So, although private parks can be presented as an attempt to use the security of commodified land to advanceconservation goals, the land is actually taken from its previous social context, alienated, and sold, “precisely...processes that cause tension with former farm workers in South Africa.” N ATURE U NBOUND , supra note 1 at 183-184, 186. 13 This memorable phrase is used at the very end of one of the books we review and comment on, here.N ATURE U NBOUND , supra   note 1 at 200. The range and variety of connective relationships, “patternsthat connect,” imagined and emb raced in the book as proper subjects for protected area and wildlifeconservation policy and management, however, go far beyond those that would be sanctioned or areeven contemplated in the other works we consider, here, embracing “connections and relatio nshipsbetween human beings, as well as between humans and non- humans.”  Id  . 14 C ONNECTIVITY C ONSERVATION M ANAGEMENT :   A   G LOBAL G UIDE (Graeme Worboys, Wendy Francis& Michael Lockwood eds., 2010), hereinafter C ONNECTIVITY M ANAGEMENT . 15 N ATURE U NBOUND , supra note 1. 16 E VOLUTION &   I NNOVATION , supra note 2. 17 Earthscan, Publishing for a Sustainable Future. Their titles are marketed and distributed in the UnitedStates by Stylus Publishing, LLC, of Sterling, VA. There is universal online access to their list atwww.styluspub.com 18 Harvey Locke, Yellowstone to Yukon connectivity conservation initiative, in C ONNECTIVITY M ANAGEMENT , supra note 12 at 161-181. The number and distribution of the various initiatives otherthan Y2Y is worth summarizing, because it underlines the extent to which connectivity managementhas become a global phenomenon even while relying almost entirely on scientists for articulation andsupport. They include the Cederberg Mountains, Cape Floristic Region, South Africa, the GreaterVirunga Landscape on the boundary of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda, theMaloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Program, spanning the boundaries of Lesotho andSouth Africa, the Australian Alps national parks, the Alps to Atherton conservation corridor stretchingroughly from Melbourne, New South Wales to Cairns, Queensland, the Gondwana Link in south-  The principal intellectual thrust of this new book about connectivityconservation, however, is normative. It purports to provide people who care about thefuture of protected areas and their wildlife populations with an entry level manual forconnectivity conservation; a modern tool kit, grounded in the most up to date andsophisticated conservation biology and related sciences and finely honed with modernenvironmental management concepts so as to link traditional protected areas moreeffectively with each other, as well as with those adjacent and surrounding parts of nature that are corridors of ecological movement, migration, transition, andtransformation.The overarching goal, then, of conservation connectivity management in itspresent state of development is to use modern science as the basis for very large-scaleinitiatives in wildlife and habitat protection and management. 19 Advocates believeconservation biology and its associated disciplines provide a firm but flexibleframework for coming to grips with a nature that has, on the one hand, no respect forthe delimitations of political jurisdictions, whether national parks or private gamepreserves, and with a set of protected areas that have, on the other hand, boundarieslargely out of sync with those of the biomes, bioregions, and ecosystems that are nowregarded as the building blocks of extensive natural landscapes and seascapes.Connectivity conservation is, if you will, an attempt to compensate for theincreasingly awkward limitations of traditional protected areas. Although we reliedheavily upon them in the past, and have invested much of our conservation treasure inthem since the latter decades of the nineteenth century, they rather poorly sample andrepresent and, therefore, conserve the valuable biodiversity of the world. Amongother things, then, connectivity conservation is a way of giving protected areas newroles and relevance, not by trying to increase their numbers or by improving the waythey delimit, contain, and fiercely protect nature in a “fortress conservation” sense, 20   western Australia, the Bhutan Biological Conservation Complex, the proposed Sacred HimalayanLandscape, the proposed Seulawah-Leuser-Angkola corridor in northern Sumatra, the southernAppalachians, the several initiatives in the northern Appalachian bioregion stretching from NewEngland into Canada, the Mesoamerican biological corridor, the Andean Páramo corridor, theVilcabamba-Amboro corridor spanning Bolivia and Peru, the Serra do Espinhaço Biosphere Reserve,Brazil, the Munchique-Pinche Corridor, Colombia, the Llanganates-Sangay corridor, Ecuador, theprotected areas system of the Venezuelan Andes, the Altai Mountain Knot, principally in southernRussia, the tri-national Mont Blanc Massif, the Cantabrian Mountains-Pyrénées-Massif Central-Western Alps Great Mountain corridor, and the Appenines. 19 Charles Chester & Jodi Hilty, Connectivity Science, in C ONNECTIVITY M ANAGEMENT , supra note 12at 22- 33. Their concluding summary is worth quoting: “Scientists and ecologists have generally defined the concept of connectivity as the extent to which a species or population can move along landscapeelements in a mosaic of habitat types. Large-scale connectivity conservation includes landscape, habitat,ecological and evolutionary process connectivity, and connectivity conservation areas include theinterconnection (and potentially embedding) of key protected areas or refugia areas. With the threat of climate change, an increased attention to connectivity largely results from a belief that the retention of natural environments between such protected areas offers species the best possible chance for survival in the long term.”  Id. at 33. So, there is a measure of belief mixed with the science, but nothing rising tothe level of Darwinian or Marxian ideology. See also John Terborgh, Why we must bring back the wolf  ,57(12) N.   Y.   R EV .   B OOKS 35-37 (July 2010), reviewing C AROLINE F RASER ,   R EWILDING THE W ORLD :   D ISPATCHES FROM THE C ONSERVATION R EVOLUTION (2009). 20 D AN B ROCKINGTON ,   F ORTRESS C ONSERVATION :   T HE P RESERVATION OF THE M KOMAZI G AME R ESERVE ,   T ANZANIA (2002). To put this formative contribution in context, see W ILLIAM M.   A DAMS ,  
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