Fall 2019. ENVS 499.
As alluded to in the title, the ENVS 499 was an independent study I took with several other students as we began work on our capstone projects that will continue during the Spring. I embarked on this study as a way to rework what I had previously begun in ENVS 350 and ENVS 330 and also as a way to adhere to the fast tracking that is required of honours students. Therefore, this is only the beginning of research that will continue into the Spring semester and culminate in a written thesis.
Biological conservation is currently one of the most important issues of this century. However, as policies and solutions are created various stakeholders must be considered. This project seeks to explore and analyse the different approaches to conservation and assess the extent to which they are beneficial to their relevant stakeholders.
Having already lay the foundation for this work at the end of my sophomore year, I continued to build upon the research I had started and also had the opportunity to expand upon it. My framing question: Is conservation beneficial? seeks to elabourate on various conservation and explore the extent to which they benefit the human and nonhuman worlds, and other stakeholders to see which are at the forefront of policies and assess the costs and benefits that are accrued by each of them.
As I worked through the hourglass I looked to various literature that defined conservation and its practices (IUCN 2015), assessed the role of indigenous people (Dowie 2011), illustrated the economic benefits of tourism and conservation in the Global South (Van Wijk et al 2015) and also illustrates the ways in which flora and fauna are protected through conservation (Turner et al 2007) (Bagachi et al 2013) and how these stakeholders need to be all considered in policy.
In continuing my research I made an ANT Map that illustrated the various stakeholders in Kruger National Park, my primary situated context in order to explore the relationships between the stakeholders as I continued my research. This helped me consider how to illustrate the intersections between the key actors and processes in Kruger and extend them in to my secondary situated context, the Masai Mara, and focus on key actors and processes. For more information read this post.
Research question: How have the Makuleke tribe in Kruger National Park and the Maasai in the Maasai Mara benefited from their conservation approaches?
Considering my situated contexts, I created a methodology that aims to explore the situated contexts and facilitate a cross-comparison between them. Furthermore, these methods aim to assess the ways in which the Makuleke and Maasai have benefited from the expropriation of land and subsequently conservation. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches will be integrated in creating an argument that will also incorporate a historical and contemporary analysis to explore current and past issues in the wildlife preserves. Additionally, the ways in which the benefits have manifested (social, economic, cultural, political etc…) will be explored by surveying the involved stakeholders. An analysis will be done to explore the extent to which land expropriation and tribal participation in conservation practices have had positive impacts for the human and nonhuman worlds. More detail can be found about each method here.
As I move forward with my research, I will be refining my methodology so that I ensure the comparative study is fair and explores both case studies to the fullest extent possible within this capacity.And I intend to consider and define beneficiality so that I can address my posed question adequately. Finally, I will conduct my research and continue to rework my written outcome, and be transparent as I do so. I will also consider all other elements of the bottom of the hourglass and discuss them as much as I am able to.
By clicking download below, one can see my progress through this project that culminated in a poster.
I expect my research to illustrate that conservation approaches and policies that are employed in wildlife preserves will dictate the extent to which various stakeholders benefit. This means that the primary/ prioritised stakeholders will benefit from the policy the most, as this is often dependent on which stakeholder is at the centre of the approach. In most cases it may be humans or nonhumans.
Bagchi, Robert, Mike Crosby, Brian Huntley, David G. Hole, Stuart H. M. Butchart, Yvonne Collingham, Mohit Kalra, et al. 2013. “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Conservation Site Networks under Climate Change: Accounting for Uncertainty.” Global Change Biology 19 (4): 1236–48.
Barik, S. K., O. N. Tiwari, D. Adhikari, P. P. Singh, R. Tiwary, and S. Barua. 2018. “Geographic Distribution Pattern of Threatened Plants of India and Steps Taken for Their Conservation.” Current Science (00113891) 114 (3): 470–503.
Dowie, Mark. 2011. Conservation Refugees: The Hundred-Year Conflict between Global Conservation and Native Peoples. MIT Press.
IUCN. 2015. “About: Protected Areas.” IUCN. 2015.
Turner, Will R., Katrina Brandon, Thomas M. Brooks, Robert Costanza, Da Fonseca, Gustavo A. B, and Rosimeiry Portela. 2007. “Global Conservation of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.” BioScience 57 (10): 868–73.
Van Wijk, Jakomijn, René Van der Duim, Machiel Lamers, and Daudi Sumba. 2015. “The Emergence of Institutional Innovations in Tourism: The Evolution of the African Wildlife Foundation’s Tourism Conservation Enterprises.” Journal of Sustainable Tourism 23 (1): 104–25.