Concerns about poaching and trafficking have led conservationists to seek urgent responses to tackle the impact on wildlife. One possible solution is the militarisation of conservation, which holds potentially far-reaching consequences. It is important to engage critically with the militarisation of conservation, including identifying and reflecting on the problems it produces for wildlife, for people living with wildlife and for those tasked with implementing militarised strategies. This Perspectives piece is a first step towards synthesising the main themes in emerging critiques of militarised conservation. We identify five major themes: first, the importance of understanding how poaching is defined; second, understanding the ways that local communities experience militarised conservation; third, the experiences of rangers; fourth, how the militarisation of conservation can contribute to violence where conservation operates in the context of armed conflict; and finally how it fits in with and reflects wider political economic dynamics. Ultimately, we suggest that failure to engage more critically with militarisation risks making things worse for the people involved and lead to poor conservation outcomes in the long run.
We question whether the increasingly popular, radical idea of turning half the earth into a network of protected areas is either feasible or just. We argue that this 'half earth' plan would have widespread negative consequences for human populations and would not meet its conservation objectives. It offers no agenda for managing biodiversity within a 'human half' of Earth. We call instead for alternative radical action that is both more effective and more equitable, focused directly on the main drivers of biodiversity loss by shifting the global economy from its current foundation in growth while simultaneously redressing inequality.
Main TextThere is a new call to extend conservation frontiers as an ultimate attempt to save global biodiversity. Under the slogan 'nature needs half' (http://natureneedshalf.org/) and spearheaded by leading conservation scientists such as Edward O. Wilson (2016), Reed Noss (Noss et al, 2012), George Wuerthner and John Terborgh (Wuerthner et al, 2015), a vision has been formulated to turn half of the earth into a series of interconnected protected areas. This radical plan for conservation seeks to expand and strengthen the world's current network of protected areas to create a patchwork grid of reserves encompassing at least half the world's surface and hence "about 85 percent" of remaining biodiversity (Wilson, 2016). We wish to open up debate about this idea. While it might be interpreted as simply a rhetorical challenge to provoke greater conservation effort, it is proposed by senior scientific figures and is being widely discussed and supported. Critical reflection about this proposal is thus important.The plan proposed is staggering in scale: protected areas, according to the IUCN, currently incorporate around 15.4% of the earth's terrestrial areas and 3.4% of its oceans. They would thus need to more than triple in extent on land and by more than ten-fold in the oceans. Not only would this include the earth's currently still relatively intact ecosystems and natural habitats, it would also necessarily entail an active programme of restoration and 'rewilding' to 2 return larger areas to a more pristine 'pre-human' baseline (Wilson, 2016;Noss et al, 2012;Donlan et al, 2005). E. O. Wilson is arguably most explicit in his recent book Half-Earth, stating that "only by setting aside half the planet in reserve, or more, can we save the living part of the environment and achieve the stabilization required for our own survival" (Wilson, 2016: 3).Other conservationists agree that such a goal is the 'only defensible target' from a 'strictly scientific point of view' to allow for a sustainable future (Wuerthner et al, 2015: 18).These proposals seem to be driven by the credo 'desperate times call for desperate measures'. We agree with Wilson and other conservationists that because biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate as a result of human activity therefore urgent need for action to address this. Desperate times, however, demand careful decisions. We argue that the 'hal...
Over a thousand rhinos were killed in 2013 and 2014 as the poaching crisis in Southern Africa reached massive proportions, with major consequences for conservation and other political dynamics in the region. The article documents these dynamics in the context of the ongoing development and establishment of "peace parks": large conservation areas that cross international state boundaries. The rhino-poaching crisis has affected peace parks in the region, especially the flagship Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park between South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In order to save both peace parks and rhinos, key actors such as the South African government, the Peace Parks Foundation, and the general public responded to the poaching crisis with increasingly desperate measures, including the deployment of a variety of violent tactics and instruments. The article critically examines these methods of 'green violence' and places them within the broader historical and contemporary contexts of violence in the region and in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. It concludes that attempting to save peace parks through 'green violence' represents a contradiction, but that this contradiction is no longer recognized as such, given the historical positioning of peace parks in the region and popular discourses of placing poachers in a 'space of exception'. THE RHINO-POACHING CRISIS IN SOUTH AFRICA became a major national and international drama in 2013 when the number of rhinos poached reached 1,004. It seemed to represent the crossing of a threshold, engendering feelings of rage, retribution, and a stream of calls to action by the public, conservation agencies, and many others. In turn, the poaching crisis *Bram Büscher
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