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People, Plants, and Justice

People, Plants, and Justice: The Politics of Nature Conservation

Charles Zerner EDITOR
Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 416
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  • Book Info
    People, Plants, and Justice
    Book Description:

    In an era of market triumphalism, this book probes the social and environmental consequences of market-linked nature conservation schemes. Rather than supporting a new anti-market orthodoxy, Charles Zerner and colleagues assert that there is no universal entity, "the market." Analysis and remedies must be based on broader considerations of history, culture, and geography in order to establish meaningful and lasting changes in policy and practice.

    Original case studies from Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the South Pacific focus on topics as diverse as ecotourism, bioprospecting, oil extraction, cyanide fishing, timber extraction, and property rights. The cases position concerns about biodiversity conservation and resource management within social justice and legal perspectives, providing new insights for students, scholars, policy professionals and donor/foundations engaged in international conservation and social justice.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50669-4
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Geography, Botany & Plant Sciences, Law, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xviii)

    • INTRODUCTION Toward a Broader Vision of Justice and Nature Conservation
      (pp. 3-20)
      Charles Zerner

      Small-scale societies have long been engaged in the commodification of nature: extracting, producing, processing, and trading a diversity of products from a broad spectrum of natural environments. Scholars working in Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the South Pacific have amply documented the cultural modification of nature and the creation of complex commodity chains implicated in the global circulation of natural products. These chains have linked relatively remote communities with the material, cultural, economic, and ideological flows emanating from and flowing to global centers for centuries, and, in some cases, millennia.¹

      It is only recently, however, that global markets and...

    • CHAPTER 1 Contested Communities, Malignant Markets, and Gilded Governance: Justice, Resource Extraction, and Conservation in the Tropics
      (pp. 21-51)
      Michael J. Watts

      Mapping the contemporary landscapes of resource extraction and biodiversity prospecting in the Tropics—whether damar extraction in Sumatra, ecotourism in Belize, oil exploitation in Amazonia, or ecocolonialism in Samoa—reveals the fundamental fractures and fault lines, the political tectonics as it were, of sustainable development in the late twentieth century. On the one hand, these cases are irreducibly local. They speak to the efforts by individuals, households, communities, indigenous groups, nonstate groups of various stripe, all of whom articulate a historical and cultural set of claims over the access to and control over territorial resources, to secure livelihoods from their...

    • CHAPTER 2 Beyond Distributive Justice: Resource Extraction and Environmental Justice in the Tropics
      (pp. 52-64)
      Richard A. Schroeder

      For several years, Frank Momberg, Rajindra Puri, and Timothy Jessup, three self-described “conservationists” closely affiliated with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), have been involved in research connected with the creation and maintenance of Kayan Mentarang National Park in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. It is thus with considerable alarm that they report in this volume (chapter 10) that a resource extraction rush is underway in Kalimantan. Large numbers of “exogenous” collectors have surreptitiously infiltrated remote sections of Kalimantan in the vicinity of Kayan Mentarang in search of gaharu, a resinous heartwood used in the manufacture of incense and medicinals throughout Southeast Asia....


    • CHAPTER 3 Justice for Whom? Contemporary Images of Amazonia
      (pp. 67-82)
      Candace Slater

      An immense, primordial forest teeming with birds and snakes and jaguars. A sky-blue river with a half-built dam ringed by a ragged circle of protesters. Indians in feather halos who lock arms with sun-burnt rubber tappers to protect a glistening wall of trees. These are the images that many middle-class Americans have today of the Amazon, but they were not always so. Representations of the sort that regularly appear today in U.S. newspapers, television documentaries, and movies, and on calendars, T-shirts, and cereal boxes have changed significantly over the past three decades, and even more over the past century. In...

    • CHAPTER 4 Outrage in Rubber and Oil: Extractivism, Indigenous Peoples, and Justice in the Upper Amazon
      (pp. 83-116)
      Søren Hvalkof

      This chapter examines the cyclic boom-and-bust history of extractivism in the Upper Amazon of Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia (figure 4-1). It focuses on the social relations of production created by the extractive industries, characterized by debt bondage, serfdom, and slavery—a system that reached its zenith during the rubber boom in the beginning of this century and that has continued in certain regions until the present day. The specific horrors of the atrocities committed against the indigenous population in the Putumayo in this period by a British-owned rubber company is spelled out. Although this case is well documented and has...

    • CHAPTER 5 Land, Justice, and the Politics of Conservation in Tanzania
      (pp. 117-133)
      Roderick P. Neumann

      This chapter examines the ways in which questions of customary rights of access, social justice, and protected area conservation have been entangled throughout Tanzania’s modern history (figure 5-1).¹ It is guided by the assertion that environmental conservation in Africa generates its own unique politics that are deeply rooted in the history of colonial occupation. The politics of conservation revolve around contested notions of land and resource rights among different segments of African society and between African society and the state in concert with Western conservationists. Using Tanzania as an exemplar, the chapter traces the origins of modern resource conservation to...

    • CHAPTER 6 Rebellion, Representation, and Enfranchisement in the Forest Villages of Makacoulibantang, Eastern Senegal
      (pp. 134-158)
      Jesse C. Ribot

      In the district of Makacoulibantang in Eastern Senegal (figure 6-1), scores of villages are actively blocking urban-based woodfuel merchants and their migrant woodcutters from working in surrounding forests. Their rebellion is partly to stop the destruction of a resource on which they depend for daily needs, and partly to reap some of the benefits from woodfuel production and commerce. Local villagers cannot enter the woodfuel (firewood and charcoal) trade, since, as it now stands, urban-based merchants employ migrant woodcutters and use state-allocated licenses and permits to control access to urban markets where the woodfuels are sold and consumed. Forest villagers...

    • CHAPTER 7 The Damar Agroforests of Krui, Indonesia: Justice for Forest Farmers
      (pp. 159-203)
      Geneviève Michon, Hubert de Foresta, Kusworo and Patrice Levang

      The modern history of forests in Indonesia merges with a history of a continuous process of land and resource appropriation by the state at the expense of indigenous forest people, through a fair amount of ideological imperialism and a convenient use of legal and technical instruments as well as a touch of power abuse. From the very beginning of the Indonesian archipelago’s history, the forest has represented the only large field for demographic, agricultural, economic, and geopolitical expansion, as well as the major instrument by which to attain wealth and power. While conflicts for forest appropriation or control in the...

    • CHAPTER 8 Tropical Forests Forever? A Contextual Ecology of Bentian Rattan Agroforestry Systems
      (pp. 204-233)
      Stephanie Gorson Fried

      Rattan, as climbing, spiny vines belonging to the palm family are often called, is considered to be the most important nontimber forest product in Indonesia (Weinstock 1983; Peluso 1983a). Eighty to 90 percent of the world’s rattan supply comes from Indonesia’s tropical forests (Menon 1989; Priasukmana 1988). My original intention was to study the unusual sustainable forest management and rattan production system of the Bentian Dayak² people of Kutai Regency, East Kalimantan (figures 8-1–8-3). However, armed bulldozer crews associated with private-sector logging concessions and plantations moved into the Bentian region and, in the name of “development,” proceeded to destroy...

    • CHAPTER 9 Global Markets, Local Injustice in Southeast Asian Seas: The Live Fish Trade and Local Fishers in the Togean Islands of Sulawesi
      (pp. 234-258)
      Celia Lowe

      With strong words, a Sama¹ fisher exposes his fatalism, marking therein the anxieties and paradoxes of a new export trade in live reef fish: “If people were using poison and my take dropped to only a little, I would accept it,” he said. “But I feel heartsick that people have used cyanide here and then I catch nothing at all. I have not caught a big fish in a month so there’s no point in going fishing this afternoon. There won’t be any results.” How is it that experienced fishers in the Togean Islands of Sulawesi, Indonesia, no longer want...

    • CHAPTER 10 Exploitation of Gaharu, and Forest Conservation Efforts in the Kayan Mentarang National Park, East Kalimantan, Indonesia
      (pp. 259-284)
      Frank Momberg, Rajindra Puri and Timothy Jessup

      The valuable wood gaharu is disappearing from Indonesia’s forests at an alarming rate, much to the concern of conservationists and at great cost to local communities. Is this another tragedy of the boom-and-bust frontier economy of the “wild East,” or can something be done to save the forest along with the trees? The experience of local communities and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in the Kayan Mentarang National Park, in East Kalimantan, illustrates the problem but also gives some reason for hope (figures 10-1, 10-2).

      Gaharu, a fragrant wood that occurs in some but not all tree in...

    • CHAPTER 11 The Meaning of the Manatee: An Examination of Community-Based Ecotourism Discourse and Practice in Gales Point, Belize
      (pp. 285-308)
      Jill M. Belsky

      Community-based conservation (CBC) in general, and ecotourism in particular, arose to correct human injustices and social impacts wrought by a prior model of protected area management that subordinated resident peoples’ welfare and rights, and local economic development, to environmental preservation (West and Brechin 1991). Proponents of community-based ecotourism defend it as a locally beneficial way to use rural landscapes and cultures, especially relative to timber or mineral extraction, that contributes to both local economic development and the conservation of threatened habitats and species (Boo 1990; Whelen 1991; Lindberg and Hawkins 1993; Horwich et al. 1993; Western and Wright 1994).


    • CHAPTER 12 Profits, Prunus, and the Prostate: International Trade in Tropical Bark
      (pp. 309-329)
      Anthony Balfour Cunningham and Michelle Cunningham

      Prunus africana (Rosaceae), known as the African cherry or red stinkwood (sometimes called Pygeum africanum), is a wild relative of almond, apricot, cherry, peach, and plum trees. Throughout its range in the mountain forests of Africa and Madagascar (figure 12-1), P. africana is valued by local people. The durable timber is a favored source of wood for grinding pestles and for hoe and axe handles, and the bark is used medicinally. It is this medicinal use and the consequent international trade that are the focus of this chapter, which illustrates the “footprint” of Europe on African forests and a medicinal...

    • CHAPTER 13 A Tale of Two Villages: Culture, Conservation, and Ecocolonialism in Samoa
      (pp. 330-344)
      Paul Alan Cox

      It was the best of times and the worst of times for two villages in Samoa. One village enjoyed cooperative efforts between villagers and foreign donors to establish and develop a large rain forest preserve. A second village experienced intense conflict between indigenous people and a Western conservation organization. What caused the difference in the conservation outcomes in these two villages? Why in the first case were the donors and villagers happy, while in the second case the antagonism between the villagers and a foreign conservation organization captured the attention of international media?

      The stories of Falealupo and Tafua villages...

    • CHAPTER 14 One in Ten Thousand? The Cameroon Case of Ancistrocladus korupensis
      (pp. 345-373)
      Sarah A. Laird, A. B. Cunningham and Estherine Lisinge

      Ancistrocladus korupensis is a woody climber found in the tropical forests of Cameroon and Nigeria. The epithet korupensis refers to Korup, the people, and the national park that bears their name in the Southwest Province of Cameroon (figure 14-1). It was in the Korup National Park that A. korupensis was first collected, a forest vine with no reported local use, or name. A. korupensis was originally collected by staff of the Missouri Botanical Garden under contract from the Natural Products Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Since that time, it has yielded the anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) naphthyl-isoquinoline alkaloid...

    • CHAPTER 15 The Fate of the Collections: Social Justice and the Annexation of Plant Genetic Resources
      (pp. 374-402)
      Bronwyn Parry

      The ethical and political implications of contemporary bioprospecting have been the subject of an extraordinarily heated debate over the past decade. Given that the term conjures up an image of a mad gene rush, a rabble of bounty hunters rummaging through biodiversity for that elusive “big find,” it is unsurprising that it has ignited some serious concerns about the commercialization and potential monopolization of that most fundamental constituent of life—genetic material. On reflection, it is apparent that this debate has taken an interesting shape. Arguments about the perceived opportunity or threat posed by these “explorations of nature” have tended...

    (pp. 403-436)
    (pp. 437-442)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 443-454)