To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.
... One that allows humans and nonhumans to live sideby-side in meaningful coexistence rather than shallow commodified encounter. And one that supports and subsidizes the livelihoods of people living intimately with wildlife beyond providing precarious tourism employmentfor instance, through redistributive mechanisms like a conservation basic income (Fletcher and Büscher, 2020). Such an approach, termed "convivial conservation (Büscher and Fletcher, 2020), is currently being debated and tested in a number of places by various actors. ...
... And one that supports and subsidizes the livelihoods of people living intimately with wildlife beyond providing precarious tourism employmentfor instance, through redistributive mechanisms like a conservation basic income (Fletcher and Büscher, 2020). Such an approach, termed "convivial conservation (Büscher and Fletcher, 2020), is currently being debated and tested in a number of places by various actors. Aspects of it are already being practiced in many indigenous and community conservation projects worldwide, 19 while measures to redirect tourism development specifically in a more sustainable direction have also been proposed 20 and in some cases implemented. ...
... One such scheme for wolverines has been rolled out with some promising results in Sweden (see Persson et al. 2015). Another interesting proposition is a Conservation Basic Income, combining the social benefits of Universal Basic Income with the focus on environmental protection of the Payment for Ecosystem Services' programme (Fletcher and Büscher 2020). However, many questions remain for both of these schemes before they can be applied on a larger scale, for instance, concerning delineation of territory, funding, and legitimacy. ...
Reintegrating wolves in human-dominated landscapes constitutes a significant conservation challenge. After decades of studying human-wolf interactions through a conflict lens, there is growing recognition that more nuanced perspectives are needed. However, this recognition has hitherto yielded few practical changes, and few have studied what underpins successful coexistence. Here we show that disproportionate focus on and resource allocation to conflict within conservation programmes risks undermining existing convivial relationships with large carnivores. Using a coexistence lens, we studied human-wolf interactions in Sanabria-La Carballeda in Spain; the region has one of the highest densities of wolves in Europe. We explored the underlying social and ecological conditions that have permitted both wolves and people to persist in the area, studied the mutual impacts, and surveyed how interactions are influenced by broader socio-economic processes. The findings of this novel approach to studying human-wildlife interactions elucidates how areas of functional coexistence have been neglected in policy, leaving them vulnerable to depopulation, low agricultural profitability, and the loss of biocultural diversity. When institutions fail to support functional coexistence, we risk losing the knowledge, the traditions and the trust of those who have sustained Europe’s large carnivores, thereby undermining transitions to more convivial human-wildlife interactions in the future.
... Development activities or redistribution mechanisms may need to be considered in advance to enable conservation action. For example, when conservation is implemented in highly impoverished rural areas a "conservation basic income"an unconditional payment sufficient to meet basic needsmay be implemented to support the redistribution of wealth and enable conservation (Fletcher and Büscher, 2020). Other models that have been used are the creation of conservation trust funds, payments for ecosystem service programs, or the redistribution of revenue from tourism activities to support local development activities (Atmodjo et al., 2017;Schuhmann et al., 2019;Mangubhai et al., 2020). ...
Substantial efforts and investments are being made to increase the scale and improve the effectiveness of marine conservation globally. Though it is mandated by international law and central to conservation policy, less attention has been given to how to operationalize social equity in and through the pursuit of marine conservation. In this article, we aim to bring greater attention to this topic through reviewing how social equity can be better integrated in marine conservation policy and practice. Advancing social equity in marine conservation requires directing attention to: recognition through acknowledgment and respect for diverse peoples and perspectives; fair distribution of impacts through maximizing benefits and minimizing burdens; procedures through fostering participation in decision-making and good governance; management through championing and supporting local involvement and leadership; the environment through ensuring the efficacy of conservation actions and adequacy of management to ensure benefits to nature and people; and the structural barriers to and institutional roots of inequity in conservation. We then discuss the role of various conservation organizations in advancing social equity in marine conservation and identify the capacities these organizations need to build. We urge the marine conservation community, including governments, non-governmental organizations and donors, to commit to the pursuit of socially equitable conservation.
... 48 Recent proposals for a "conservation basic income" have made the argument that poverty alleviation and environmental goals could be packaged together and applied to everyone living near areas of high conservation value. 49 The cost of UBI subsidies could be raised via environmental sources like carbon or pollution taxes in which the revenue is then redistributed, or by redesigning development aid to recipient countries. Other related programs, such as conditional cash transfers (CCT), have shown that direct payments can result in both positive and negative environmental behaviours depending on context and thus must be designed carefully; one recent analysis of a CCT program in Indonesia shows that it reduced deforestation, although it was not designed for conservation ends 50 , while a CCT in Sierra Leone was associated with higher rates of forest clearance. ...
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic and unprecedented impacts on both global health and economies. Many governments are now proposing recovery packages to get back to normal, but the 2019 Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Global Assessment indicated that business as usual has created widespread ecosystem degradation. Therefore, a post-COVID world needs to tackle the economic drivers that create ecological disruptions. In this perspective, we discuss a number of tools across a range of actors for both short-term stimulus measures and longer-term revamping of global, national, and local economies that take biodiversity into account. These include measures to shift away from activities that damage biodiversity and toward those supporting ecosystem resilience, including through incentives, regulations, fiscal policy, and employment programs. By treating the crisis as an opportunity to reset the global economy, we have a chance to reverse decades of biodiversity and ecosystem losses.
... PES projects have been widely criticised (Pattanayak et al., 2010;Caplow et al., 2011;Dunlap and Sulivan, 2019;Büscher and Fletcher, 2020:2) even as they have evolved. 3 Any success has been highly contingent on local conditions (Arriagada et al. 2012: 393;Corbera et al., 2007;van Hecken and Bastiaensen, 2010). ...
... Role for development cooperation: Development cooperation can support the establishment of and compliance with collective and secure land tenure rights in forest-dependent communities. It has also been argued that supporting non-conditional conservation basic income, a novel strategy for funding biodiversity conservation that moves beyond widely promoted market-based instruments, can further support communities and prevent forest degradation (Fletcher and Büscher, 2020). This also highlights the importance of development cooperation supporting in-situ conservation actions outside protected areas, such as Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs). ...
Sustainable development requires that the climate system be stabilised between 1.5°C and 2°C of average global warming. This necessitates a drastic reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. Developing countries and emerging economies are increasingly the focus here. These nations already account for two-thirds of global emissions. Failure to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement would ultimately undermine the achievement of just and sustainable global development that leaves no one behind. A development-oriented strategy that achieves the necessary reduction in emissions requires both climate change mitigation and development cooperation across policy fields. Tackling the now unavoidable impacts of climate change must also include matters related to land use, marine conservation and global trade. The Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provide the necessary objectives and normative foundation for political action. Consistently implementing the objectives of both agendas is the key challenge for international policymakers, global corporations and for communities. In this context, it is necessary to keep all countries and population groups in view, aligning with the requirement of leaving no one behind. In addition to overarching approaches, individual action areas at the interface between climate policy and sustainable development are highly relevant. The most notable of these action areas are global energy production, the political design of urbanisation, sustainable agriculture, forest and ecosystem conservation, and the management of global freshwater resources. There are already many vantage points for international climate cooperation with developing and emerging countries. Their central role in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement can therefore be strengthened in a sustainable manner. Provided the political will is there on the part of the partner countries and the respective national frameworks are created, the above mentioned action areas offer numerous options for intervention. This could effectively leverage the potential and experience of agents of international cooperation. The recommendations of the authors serve as examples and are spelled out in detail in the presented study.
... environmental sustainability) but also by reshaping conservation programming. Convivial conservation (Fletcher & Büscher, 2020) does refer to an approach that allows humans and non-humans to live side by side in meaningful coexistence and supports and subsidizes the livelihoods of people living intimately with wildlife. The move toward slow tourism, ecotourism, and staycation practices mirrors this search for meaningful coexistence and engagement with nature. ...
This chapter discusses the COVID-19 pandemic–induced impact on
tourism in a critical perspective and traces future scenarios: tourism as
usual, the new normal, and humanistic tourism. Recommendations for
building humanistic tourism are offered. They are based on shared value
processes (Porter & Kramer, 2012) at the interplay between sustainability and humanistic management, and they revolve around four clusters of
interactions: human vs. human, human vs. nature, human vs. technology,
and human vs. the economy. In the conclusion, the poetic fable “The Tin
Forest” encourages us to act in manners favoring the emergence of a different world.
... This has encouraged conservation researchers and practitioners to rely on new avenues of funding such as offsets and market-based interventions that end up compromising conservation practice and local economies (Spash, 2015). Fletcher and Büscher (2020) have proposed the idea of a conservation basic income to overcome the problematic directions that conservation funding often takes and to decrease the reliance on corporate and market-based sources. Even when donors are attracted to the long-term presence of researchers in a landscape, the money is targeted at short-term action and impact. ...
The separation of people from their landscapes undergirds conservation action, especially in the global south.
Such a ‘fortress conservation’ approach is based on the flawed idea that local people’s use of forests endangers
biodiversity and therefore habitats should be protected by force if necessary. Such a conservation approach runs
contrary to the recent understanding that ecosystems once perceived as ‘wilderness’ have been transformed by
people. Long-term interdisciplinary research has produced a nuanced understanding of the linkages between
ecological and social processes. An example of such long-term engagement is a series of programmes by Ashoka
Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) in the Western Ghats and the Himalayas. We
describe programmes in four sites: Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger reserve, Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Tiger
Reserve, Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary and Vembanad Ramsar site. Our experiences highlight primarily, a broadening
of the initial focus on the ecological dynamics to include social dimensions. Secondly, a programmatic
rather than a project-mode approach has enabled a clear long-term vision. Third, the research and action work
has continued a tradition in conservation science of field-based, empirical work driven by theory as well as
produced grounded knowledge. Such a long-term ‘dirt on the boots’ approach has built a platform from which
ATREE is able to launch programmes that have made an impact on livelihoods and landscapes. And finally, longterm
engagement and a strong network of local actors have allowed us to implement and inform conservation
The UK Government has developed a 'Blue Belt', a network of large Marine Protected Areas involving seven British Overseas Territories. The Blue Belt is now one of the world's largest enclosures of space for conservation, enclosing four million km 2 of ocean in some of the most remote spaces on earth. To be economically feasible, the UK's bold conservation targets are integrated with wider tourism, fishing, and economic growth-motivated governance agendas. This commentary argues for a degrowth alternative to the Blue Belt's development. The goal of degrowth is not to prevent increases in Gross Domestic Product, nor is degrowth the equivalent to recession in a growth economy. Sustainable degrowth provides a conservation framework for ensuring a just transition from neoliberal forms of governance that places local well-being and welfare needs above the interests of state actors, private investors, and holiday makers. In the current context of the Blue Belt, the commentary considers three nascent degrowth concepts for improving things: 1) blue degrowth, 2) degrowth tourism, and 3) degrowth environmental governance. The paper argues that instead of separating the UK from other spaces where biodiversity targets are realised, these targets should be used as opportunities to reconcile the UK's colonial relationships with the territories, to build local capacity, and resilience.
The UK Government has developed a ‘Blue Belt’, a network of large Marine Protected Areas involving seven British Overseas Territories. The Blue Belt is now one of the world's largest enclosures of space for conservation, enclosing four million km2 of ocean in some of the most remote spaces on earth. To be economically feasible, the UK's bold conservation targets are integrated with wider tourism, fishing, and economic growth-motivated governance agendas. This commentary argues for a degrowth alternative to the Blue Belt's development. The goal of degrowth is not to prevent increases in Gross Domestic Product, nor is degrowth the equivalent to recession in a growth economy. Sustainable degrowth provides a conservation framework for ensuring a just transition from neoliberal forms of governance that places local well-being and welfare needs above the interests of state actors, private investors, and holiday makers. In the current context of the Blue Belt, the commentary considers three nascent degrowth concepts for improving things: 1) blue degrowth, 2) degrowth tourism, and 3) degrowth environmental governance. The paper argues that instead of separating the UK from other spaces where biodiversity targets are realised, these targets should be used as opportunities to reconcile the UK's colonial relationships with the territories, to build local capacity, and resilience.
A humanistic paradigm framework is used to examine leading practices in contemporary creative tourism, with a particular focus on the rural and small-city context. These experiences are drawn from a research-and-application project, CREATOUR, which catalyzed a network of 40 creative-tourism initiatives in Portugal. Focusing on eight initiatives, it examines the ways in which creative-tourism strategies and practices embody and advance a humanistic paradigm. We find that creative tourism promotes human flourishing, engages the other in a journey of mutual discovery, honors the dignity of each stakeholder, and contributes to the common good in intriguing ways.
Convivial conservation has been put forward as a radical alternative to transform prevailing mainstream approaches that aim to address global concerns of biodiversity loss and extinction. This special issue includes contributions from diverse disciplinary and geographical perspectives which critically examine convivial conservation’s potential in theory and practice and explore both possibilities and challenges for the approach’s transformative ambitions. This
introduction focuses on three issues which the contributions highlight as critical for facilitating transformation of mainstream conservation. First, the different ways in which key dimensions of justice — epistemic, distributive, and participatory and multi-species justice — intersect with the convivial conservation proposal, and how potential
injustices might be mitigated. Second, how convivial conservation approaches the potential to facilitate human and non-human coexistence. Third, how transformative methodologies and innovative conceptual lenses can be used to further develop convivial conservation. The diverse contributions show that convivial conservation has clear potential to be transformative. However, to realise this potential, convivial conservation must avoid previous
proposals’ pitfalls, such as trying to ‘reinvent the wheel’ and being too narrowly focused. Instead, convivial conservation must continue to evolve in response to engagement with a plurality of perspectives, experiences, ideas and methodologies from around the world.
Increasingly heated debates concerning species extinction, climate change and global
socioeconomic inequality reflect an urgent need to transform biodiversity governance.
A central question in these debates is whether fundamental transformation can be achieved
within mainstream institutional and societal structures. Chapter 12 argues that it cannot.
Indeed, mainstream neoprotectionist and natural capital governance paradigms that do not
sufficiently address structural issues, including an increase of authoritarian politics,
might even set us back. The way out, the chapter contends, is to combine radical
reformism with a vision for structural transformation that directly challenges neoliberal
political economy and its newfound turn to authoritarianism. Convivial conservation
is a recent paradigm that promises just this. The chapter reviews convivial
conservation as a vision, politics and set of governance mechanisms that move
biodiversity governance beyond market mechanisms and protected areas. It further
introduces the concept of “biodiversity impact chains” as one potential way to
operationalize its transformative potential.
Traditional practices of Indigenous Peoples support the sustainable management of a quarter of the global land area. Yet their traditional knowledge is declining. To date, there has been insufficient focus on the development of participatory and evidence-based processes for assessing the state of traditional knowledge at national levels. We used traditional knowledge indicators and participatory video to evaluate the state of traditional knowledge within three Indigenous groups in Guyana. We find that traditional knowledge is perceived to be ’stable’ and responding and adapting to a diverse set of environmental factors and new circumstances. There are differences amongst Indigenous groups, but also commonalities, which help identify areas of intervention and point towards developing shared and collective narratives at the national level to feed into policy making. The findings have critical implications for the ways in which traditional knowledge should be researched, measured and safeguarded.
Extractive capitalism has long been the driving force of settler colonialism in Canada, and continues to threaten the sovereignty, lands and waters of Indigenous nations across the country. While ostensibly counterposed to extractivism, state-led conservation has similarly served to alienate Indigenous peoples from their territories, often for capitalist gain. Recognizing the inadequacy of the colonial-capitalist conservation paradigm to redress the biodiversity crisis, scholars in political ecology increasingly call for radical, convivial alternatives rooted in equity and justice. Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) are one such alternative, representing a paradigm shift from colonial to Indigenous-led conservation that reinvigorates Indigenous knowledge and governance systems. Since the Indigenous Circle of Experts finalized a report in 2018 on how IPCAs could contribute to Canada's conservation targets and reconciliation efforts, an increasing number of Indigenous stewardship initiatives across the country have been declared as IPCAs. These initiatives are assertions of Indigenous sovereignty, inherent rights, and responsibilities to their territories, as well as movements to rejuvenate biocultural conservation. Although Canada is supporting IPCAs through certain initiatives, the country's extractivist development model along with jurisdictional inconsistencies are undermining the establishment and long-term viability of many IPCAs. This paper explores two instances where Indigenous governments have established, or are establishing, IPCAs as novel strategies for land and water protection within long histories of resistance to colonial-capitalist exploitation. We argue that there is a paradoxical tension in Canadian conservation whereby Indigenous-led conservation is promoted in theory, while being undermined in practice. IPCAs offer glimpses of productive, alternative sustainabilities that move away from the colonial-capitalist paradigm, but are being challenged by governments and industries that still fail to respect Indigenous jurisdiction.
Coexistence with large carnivores poses challenges to human well-being, livelihoods, development, resource management, and policy. Even where people and carnivores have historically coexisted, traditional patterns of behavior toward large carnivores may be disrupted by wider processes of economic, social, political, and climate change. Conservation interventions have typically focused on changing behaviors of those living alongside large carnivores to promote sustainable practices. While these interventions remain important, their success is inextricably linked to broader socio-political contexts, including natural resource governance and equitable distribution of conservation-linked costs and benefits. In this context we propose a Theory of Change to identify logical pathways of action through which coexistence with large carnivores can be enhanced. We focus on Africa's dryland landscapes, known for their diverse guild of large carnivores that remain relatively widespread across the continent. We review the literature to understand coexistence and its challenges; explain our Theory of Change, including expected outcomes and pathways to impact; and discuss how our model could be implemented and operationalized. Our analysis draws on the experience of coauthors, who are scientists and practitioners, and on literature from conservation, political ecology, and anthropology to explore the challenges, local realities, and place-based conditions under which expected outcomes succeed or fail. Three pathways to impact were identified: (a) putting in place good governance harmonized across geographic scales; (b) addressing coexistence at the landscape level; and (c) reducing costs and increasing benefits of sharing a landscape with large carnivores. Coordinated conservation across the extensive, and potentially transboundary, landscapes needed by large carnivores requires harmonization of top-down approaches with bottom-up community-based conservation. We propose adaptive co-management approaches combined with processes for active community engagement and informed consent as useful dynamic mechanisms for navigating through this contested space, while enabling adaptation to climate change. Success depends on strengthening underlying enabling conditions, including governance, capacity, local empowerment, effective monitoring, and sustainable financial support. Implementing the Theory of Change requires ongoing monitoring and evaluation to inform adaptation and build confidence in the model. Overall, the model provides a flexible and practical framework that can be adapted to dynamic local socio-ecological contexts.
Recent high-end EU discussions on biodiversity conservation support the strict protection of wild nature, thereby
amplifying concerns about environmental and social injustices. Parallelly, grass-roots and academic proposals
advocate for the fair recognition of community-protected areas and broader political negotiations regarding
human–wildlife interactions. This paper argues that land commons offer valuable lessons toward implementing
the convivial conservation vision as advanced by Büscher and Fletcher (2019). For example, the EU Biodiversity
Strategy for 2030 endorses strict protection of wild nature as a core element of economic relaunching. However,
the focus on wild nature rules out the development of various biodiversity hotspots under human impact. Against
this strict separation, various initiatives converge to make visible the efforts of indigenous peoples and local
communities who combine resource governance with biodiversity conservation beyond free-market logics and
human–nature dichotomies. This contribution takes the case of the Romanian forest commons and explores the
synergies between these historical institutions and the convivial conservation proposal which advances postcapitalist conservation politics. The paper argues that the translation of conviviality to concrete pathways towards
transformation is timely in Europe, and the commons offer valuable lessons which could advance a transition to
more democratic and just forms of conservation.
Biodiversity conservation supporting a global sustainability transformation must be inclusive, equitable, just, and embrace plural values. The conservation basic income (CBI), an unconditional cash transfer to individuals in important conservation areas, is a potentially powerful mechanism for facilitating this radical shift in conservation. Here, we provide the first global estimates for the gross costs of CBI using spatial analyses of three plausible future conservation scenarios. Gross costs vary widely, depending on the areas and populations included as well as the payment amounts: from $466 billion to $6.73 trillion annually. A $5.50/day CBI in existing protected areas in low and middle-income countries would cost $478 billion annually. These costs are significant compared to current government conservation spending, (~$133 billion in 2020) but represent a potentially sensible investment in safeguarding incalculable social and natural values as well as the estimated $44 trillion in global economic production dependent on nature.
This chapter outlines a historical political ecology of conservation initiatives in the Tarangire Ecosystem (TE). First, I turn to chronological history to highlight the origins and the evolution of key stages in the making and expanding of conservation initiatives in the TE. Through attention to chronological history, I show how dominant ideas about people and nature changed over time in the study area. Second, I revisit the TE as a site of contested histories to show how two environmental history narratives compete with each other – a statist narrative which is embraced by public authorities in government and conservation bureaucracies, and a people’s history which represents lived experiences and bottom-up conservation practices of human-wildlife coexistence. I argue that by dismissing and marginalizing locally meaningful narratives, experiences and representations of the TE, a statist narrative continues animating conservation conflicts in the present. Drawing on these insights from the TE’s environmental history and historical political ecology, the chapter concludes with an outlook on how people-wildlife coexistence in the region could be fostered through convivial conservation.
Convivial conservation is presented as an anti-capitalist approach and alternative to current mainstream conservation as well as proposals for 'half-earth' and 'new conservation' approaches. This paper reviews these approaches and situates them in the global South conservation and development context. Using the Ruaha-Rungwa Ecosystem in Tanzania as a case study, it examines elements of the convivial conservation vision in relation to three critical conservation problems: path dependencies of state conservation agencies; heavy reliance on tourism revenue; and political interests in community conservation areas. The analysis draws on empirical data obtained from published studies and extensive field-based research by the first author in the study area. It demonstrates that while the convivial conservation approach may be considered a radical and plausible alternative to the 'half earth' and new conservation proposals, its implementation in the global South will remain challenging in the face of the existing conservation problems. The paper suggests a socio-ecological justice approach that complements the convivial conservation vision through a systemic incorporation of the rights and responsibilities of different conservation stakeholders from the perspective of procedural, recognition, distributive, and environmental justice.
This article identifies an emerging faultline in critical geography and political ecology scholarship by reviewing recent debates on three neoliberal environmental governance initiatives: Payments for Ecosystem Services, the United Nations programme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries and carbon-biodiversity offsetting. These three approaches, we argue, are characterized by varying degrees of contextual and procedural – or superficial – difference, meanwhile exhibiting significant structural similarities that invite critique, perhaps even rejection. Specifically, we identify three largely neglected ‘social engineering’ outcomes as more foundational to Payments for Ecosystem Services, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries and carbon-biodiversity offsetting than often acknowledged, suggesting that neoliberal environmental governance approaches warrant greater critical attention for their contributions to advancing processes of colonization, state territorialization and security policy. Examining the structural accumulation strategies accompanying neoliberal environmental governance approaches, we offer the term ‘accumulation-by-alienation’ to highlight both the objective appropriations accompanying Payments for Ecosystem Services, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries and offsetting and the relational deficiencies accompanying the various commodifying instrumentalizations at the heart of these initiatives. We concur with David Harvey’s recent work proposing that understanding the iterative and consequential connections between objective/material and subjective/psychological dimensions of alienation offers ‘one vital key to unlock the door of a progressive politics for the future’. We conclude (with others) by urging critical geography and political ecology scholars to cultivate research directions that affirm more radical alternatives, rather than reinforcing a narrowing focus on how to improve Payments for Ecosystem Services, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries and offsetting in practice.
Environmental conservation finds itself in desperate times. Saving nature, to be sure, has never been an easy
proposition. But the arrival of the Anthropocene - the alleged new phase of world history in which humans dominate
the earth-system seems to have upped the ante dramatically; the choices facing the conservation community have
now become particularly stark. Several proposals for revolutionising conservation have been proposed, including
‘new’ conservation, ‘half Earth’ and more. These have triggered heated debates and potential for (contemplating)
radical change. Here, we argue that these do not take political economic realities seriously enough and hence
cannot lead us forward. Another approach to conservation is needed, one that takes seriously our economic system’s
structural pressures, violent socio-ecological realities, cascading extinctions and increasingly authoritarian politics.
We propose an alternative termed ‘convivial conservation’. Convivial conservation is a vision, a politics and a
set of governance principles that realistically respond to the core pressures of our time. Drawing on a variety
of perspectives in social theory and movements from around the globe, it proposes a post-capitalist approach to
conservation that promotes radical equity, structural transformation and environmental justice and so contributes
to an overarching movement to create a more equal and sustainable world.
Payments for Environmental Services (PES) emerged as a popular forest conservation policy across the Global South since the 1990s, first in Latin America and then elsewhere. PES aim to reduce deforestation and degradation by providing payments to participants conditional on forest protection. PES attracted much attention among policy-makers as a potentially cost-effective and efficient conservation alternative, and for their poverty-alleviation prospects when operating among ‘poor’ forest-dwellers. This rising agenda has been accompanied by significant scholarly efforts to understand PES and their socioenvironmental effects. However, such understandings have overlooked local stakeholder perspectives, and evaluations have mostly examined short-term effects. Thus, less is known about PES’ long-term effects, their determinants, and how local stakeholders perceive them.
Using a multidisciplinary, multi-level, and dynamic livelihood approach combining geospatial and socioeconomic data collected from 2013-2017, this thesis helps to fill this gap by examining PES’ role in the broader livelihood strategies of six communities in the Mexican Lacandona Rainforest. The thesis makes three main contributions to PES literature. Methodologically, it presents a novel lens to understand PES effects, one that brings to the fore the voice of local stakeholders, while paying attention to evolving context and design aspects. Empirically, it shows that participants think about their livelihoods at broader temporal and spatial scales than short-term policies, which allows them to exert some control on the various policies they encounter. This longer-term thinking is reflected in the three analytical chapters in this thesis that examine how people engage with PES among other land uses, how communities devise payment distribution mechanisms, and how people combine multiple policies to pursue various goals. Conceptually, it shows that unless aspects of ‘context’, ‘design’, and ‘decision-making’ are examined simultaneously, PES’ manifold, multi-level, and evolving effects will not be sufficiently understood. Overall, the thesis shows that there are real implications for conceptualising rural development policy as an integrated ‘policy matrix’, instead of individual and self-contained policies.
Recent decades have witnessed a considerable increase in Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES)—programmes that exchange value for land management practices intended to provide or ensure ecosystem services—with over 550 active programmes around the globe and an estimated US$36–42 billion in annual transactions. PES represent a recent policy instrument with often very different programmes operating at local, regional and national levels. Despite the growth of these programmes, comprehensive and reliable data have proven difficult to find. This Analysis provides an assessment of the trends and current status of PES mechanisms—user-financed, government-financed and compliance—across the domains of water, biodiversity, and forest and land-use carbon around the world. We report the various dimensions of growth over the past decade (number of programmes, geographical spread, dollar value) to understand better the range of PES mechanisms over time and to examine which factors have contributed to or hindered growth. Four key features stand out for scaling up PES: motivated buyers, motivated sellers, metrics and low-transaction-cost institutions. A unique dataset of over 550 programmes of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) worldwide, grouped into water, forest- and land-use carbon, and biodiversity programmes, is used to assess the trends and the current status of such policy instruments.
This article offers a political economy critique of the fastest-growing modality of social policy in the world: conditional cash transfer programs (CCTs). CCTs allocate small conditional tax-funded sums to the " deserving destitute " as part of a strategy of moderation of inequality, poverty management and containment of dissent. This article argues that, while this modality of social policy can improve the circumstances of the poorest in the short-term, it also subsidizes low wages and supports the reproduction of poverty. CCTs are, then, the social policies naturally associated (" best fit ") with neoliberalism. A pro-poor alternative is outlined that can lead to faster improvements in living conditions, expand citizenship and break the reproduction of poverty and inequality under neolibera-lism.
If we want a whole Earth, Nature Needs Half: a response to Büscher et al. - Philip Cafaro, Tom Butler, Eileen Crist, Paul Cryer, Eric Dinerstein, Helen Kopnina, Reed Noss, John Piccolo, Bron Taylor, Carly Vynne, Haydn Washington
Mainstream environmentalism and critical scholarship are abuzz with the promise and perils (respectively) of what we call for-profit biodiversity conservation: attempts to make conserving biodiverse ecosystems profitable to large-scale investment. But to what extent has private capital been harnessed and market forces been enrolled in a thoroughly remade conservation? In this article we examine the size, scope, and character of international for-profit biodiversity conservation. Despite exploding rhetoric around environmental markets over the last two decades, the capital flowing into market-based conservation remains small, illiquid, and geographically constrained and typically seeks little to no profit. This marginal character of for-profit conservation suggests that this project continues to underperform as a site of accumulation and as a conservation financing strategy. Such evidence is at odds with the way this sector is commonly portrayed in mainstream environmental conservation literature but also with some critical geographical scholarship. We present a more puzzling situation: Although for-profit conservation has long been promoted as a logical, easy fix to ecological degradation, it remains negligible to and largely outside of global capital flows.We argue that this project has important consequences, but we understand its effects in terms of how it reaffirms narrowed, antipolitical explanations of biodiversity loss, instills neoliberal political rationalities among conservationists, and forecloses alternative and progressive possibilities capable of resisting status quo logics of accumulation.
Over the last fifteen years, Payments for Environmental Services (PES) schemes have become very popular environmental policy instruments, but the academic literature has begun to question their additionality. The literature attempts to estimate the causal effect of these programs by applying impact evaluation (IE) techniques. However, PES programs are complex instruments and IE methods cannot be directly applied without adjustments. Based on a systematic review of the literature, this article proposes a framework for the methodological process of designing an IE for PES schemes. It revises and discusses the methodological choices at each step of the process and proposes guidelines for practitioners.
Increasingly, one hears furtive whispers in the halls of conservation: "REDD+ is dead; it's time to cut our losses and move on." In a recent Conservation Biology editorial, Redford, Padoch and Sunderland (2013) identify REDD+ (Reduced Emissions through avoided Deforestation and forest Degradation) as one of the latest in a long line of conservation "fads," defined as "approaches that are embraced enthusiastically and then abandoned" (2013: 437). They caution: "we must take such fads more seriously, to work collectively to develop learning organizations. . .and study where new ideas come from. why they are adopted, why they are dropped, and what residual learning remains" (2013: 438). This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Can “market forces” solve the world’s environmental problems? The stakes are undeniably high. With wildlife populations and biodiversity riches threatened across the globe, it is obvious that new and innovative methods of addressing the crisis are vital to the future of the planet. But is “the market” the answer? As public funding for conservation efforts grows ever scarcer and the private sector is brimming with ideas about how its role-along with its profits— can grow, market forces have found their way into environmental management to a degree unimaginable only a few years ago. Ecotourism, payment for environmental services (PES), and new conservation finance instruments such as species banking, carbon trading, and biodiversity derivatives are only some of the market mechanisms that have sprung into being. This is “Nature™ Inc.”: a fast-growing frontier of networks, activities, knowledge, and regulations that are rapidly changing the relations between people and nature on both global and local scales. Nature™ Inc. brings together cutting-edge research by respected scholars from around the world to analyze how “neoliberal conservation” is reshaping human-nature relations that have been fashioned over two centuries of capitalist development. Contributors synthesize and add to a growing body of academic literature that cuts across the disciplinary boundaries of geography, sociology, anthropology, political science, and development studies to critically interrogate the increasing emphasis on neoliberal market-based mechanisms in environmental conservation. They all grapple with one overriding question: can capitalist market mechanisms resolve the environmental problems they have helped create?
Book synopsis: Upsetting the Offset engages critically with the political economy of carbon markets. It presents a range of case studies and critiques from around the world, showing how the scam of carbon markets affects the lives of communities. But the book doesn’t stop there. It also presents a number of alternatives to carbon markets which enable communities to live in real low-carbon futures.
The introduction to this set of papers highlights four challenges to the large-scale analysis of population growth at protected area edges in Africa and Latin America undertaken by George Wittemyer and colleagues in their 2008 paper published in Science. First, it raises questions about their sampling procedures, given national-level variation in systems of protected area designation and protected area estates. Second, it challenges the largely economic model of migration decisions that underlies their analysis. Third, it highlights the neglected variable of land tenure systems as a factor facilitating or impeding migration. Fourth, it points to the problematic politics of reducing human communities and polities to 'populations' subject to management from afar.
Following the financial crisis and its aftermath, it is clear that the inherent contradictions of capitalist accumulation have become even more intense and plunged the global economy into unprecedented turmoil and urgency. Governments, business leaders and other elite agents are frantically searching for a new, more
stable mode of accumulation. Arguably the most promising is what we call ‘Accumulation by Conservation’ (AbC): a mode of accumulation that takes the negative environmental contradictions of contemporary capitalism as its departure for a newfound ‘sustainable’ model of accumulation for the future. Under slogans
such as payments for environmental services, the Green Economy, and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, public, private and non-governmental sectors seek ways to turn the non-material use of nature into capital that can simultaneously ‘save’ the environment and establish long-term modes of capital
accumulation. In the paper, we conceptualise and interrogate the grand claim of AbC and argue that it should be seen as a denial of the negative environmental impacts of ‘business as usual’ capitalism. We evaluate AbC’s attempt to compel nature to pay for itself and conclude by speculating whether this dynamic signals the impending end of the current global cycle of accumulation altogether.
In this article we elaborate on how we use collaborative event ethnography to study global environmental governance. We discuss how it builds on traditional forms of ethnography, as well as on approaches that use ethnography to study policy-making in multiple institutional and geographical sites. We argue that global environmental meetings and negotiations offer opportunities to study critical historical moments in the making of emergent regimes of global environmental governance, and that collaborative ethnography can capture the day-to-day practices that constitute policy paradigm shifts. In this method, the negotiations themselves are not the object of study, but rather how they reflect and transform relations of power in environmental governance. Finally, we propose a new approach to understanding and examining global environmental governance—one that views the ethnographic field as constituted by relationships across time and space that come together at sites such as meetings.
Ecotourism's appeal as a conservation and development tool rests in its potential to provide local economic benefits while maintaining ecological resource integrity through low-impact, non-consumptive resource use. Some, however, question its contribution to conservation and community development, citing negative impacts, such as solid waste generation, habitat destruction, and sociocultural ills. This paper, based on a comparative study in Costa Rica, explores some of these issues. Study findings were mixed regarding ecotourism's effectiveness as a conservation and community development tool. Survey respondents saw legal restrictions as more influential than tourism in prompting declines in deforestation and hunting rates. Likewise, respondents did not feel tourism operators were significant players in raising environmental awareness. The research also revealed that direct employment in ecotourism was associated with pro-conservation practices, but indirect benefits showed stronger associations in generating pro-conservation perspectives. Little evidence was found to suggest that people are investing tourism-generated income in environmentally threatening practices. Research findings also indicated that scale influences tourism's benefits and negative impacts and that, where ecotourism dominates local economies, towns may become economically vulnerable. The paper concludes by recognising that ecotourism would be most effective as a component of a broader conservation strategy and offers suggestions to improve ecotourism's potential.
Against the background of debates on the origins and implications of the global economic crisis of 2008-2009, this essay presents a theoretical framework for analyzing processes of regulatory restructuring under contemporary capitalism. The analysis is framed around the concept of neoliberalization, which we view as a keyword for understanding the regulatory transformations of our time. We begin with a series of definitional clarifications that underpin our conceptualization of neoliberalization as a variegated, geographically uneven and path-dependent process. On this basis, we distinguish three dimensions of neoliberalization processes-regulatory experimentation; inter-jurisdictional policy transfer; and the formation of transnational rule-regimes. Such distinctions form the basis for a schematic periodization of how neoliberalization processes have been entrenched at various spatial scales and extended across the world economy since the 1980s. They also generate an analytical perspective from which to explore several scenarios for counter-neoliberalizing forms of regulatory restructuring.
New supranational environmental institutions, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the 'green' World Bank, reflect attempts to regulate international flows of 'natural capital' by means of an approach I call 'green developmentalism: These institutions are sources of eco-development dollars and of a new 'global' discourse, a postneoliberal environmental-economic paradigm. By the logic of this paradigm, nature is constructed as a world currency and ecosystems are recoded as warehouses of genetic resources for biotechnology industries. Nature would earn its own right to survive through international trade in ecosystem services and permits to pollute, access to tourism and research sites, and exports of timber, minerals, and intellectual property rights to traditional crop varieties and shamans' recipes. I contend that green developmentalism, with its promise of market solutions to environmental problems, is blunting the North-South disputes that have embroiled international environmental institutions. But by valuing local nature in relation to international markets-denominating diversity in dollars, euros, or yen-green developmentalism abstracts nature from its spatial and social contexts and reinforces the claims of global elites to the greatest share of the earth's biomass and all it contains. Meanwhile, the CBD has become a gathering ground for transnational coalitions of indigenous, peasant, and NGO opponents of 'biopiracy' and the patenting of living things, and advocates of international environmental justice. They have begun to put forward counterdiscourses and alternative practices to those of green developmentalism.
The article aims to provide a synthesized critique of neoliberal biodiversity conservation. Biodiversity conservation is incredibly diverse, and we can distinguish many different strategies such as protected areas, education programs, ecotourism, mitigation offset schemes, payments for ecosystem services, trade interventions, rewilding programs, and so forth. The casting of almost any form of conservation as progressively opposed to the forces creating environmental crisis is especially problematic when an alarmist language of crisis is used to justify policies and practices that may be injurious to local livelihoods. Implicit assumptions of people as rational maximizers of economic opportunity, and an emphasis on investment, profit, capital, growth, derivatives, and the like, however, demonstrate that the normative values infusing conservation economics are those of neoliberal capitalism. The field of economic anthropology is useful for distinguishing between capitalist and other types of economic systems.
Payments for environmental services (PES) have been recognized as a promising mechanism for conservation, with the potential to contribute to social objectives such as poverty reduction. This paper outlines a simple framework for assessing the potential for synergies in the implementation of PES programmes, used to analyse the new watershed conservation funding (WCF) channelled through Costa Rica’s national PES programme, Pago por Servicios Ambientales (PSA). The WCF financing can only be used in a limited number of watersheds. Given this constraint, the paper examines the mechanisms by which the WCF may potentially contribute to biodiversity conservation and to reducing social development gaps. Although there is significant spatial correlation among the priority areas targeted for the objectives of watershed conservation, biodiversity conservation and social development, the availability of the WCF per unit of land in most watersheds is limited compared to the PSA programme’s prevailing payment rate of US$ 64 ha−1, potentially hindering the impact of the WCF on conservation and social development. The analysis helps guide the allocation of the PSA budget in a way that complements the WCF and improves the cost-effectiveness of the PSA budget.
Win–win solutions that both conserve biodiversity and promote human well-being are difficult to realize. Trade-offs and the hard choices they entail are the norm. Since 2008, the Advancing Conservation in a Social Context (ACSC) research initiative has been investigating the complex trade-offs that exist between human well-being and biodiversity conservation goals, and between conservation and other economic, political and social agendas across multiple scales. Resolving trade-offs is difficult because social problems – of which conservation is one – can be perceived and understood in a variety of disparate ways, influenced (in part at least) by how people are raised and educated, their life experiences, and the options they have faced. Pre-existing assumptions about the “right” approach to conservation often obscure important differences in both power and understanding, and can limit the success of policy and programmatic interventions. The new conservation debate challenges conservationists to be explicit about losses, costs, and hard choices so they can be openly discussed and honestly negotiated. Not to do so can lead to unrealized expectations, and ultimately to unresolved conflict. This paper explores the background and limitations of win–win approaches to conservation and human well-being, discusses the prospect of approaching conservation challenges in terms of trade-offs and hard choices, and presents a set of guiding principles that can serve to orient strategic analysis and communication regarding trade-offs.
This chapter outlines the evolution of Mexico’s payments for hydrological services program from its inception through the
first 2 years of the program’s implementation. Background information on forests, deforestation, and potential environmental
services provide context for a political economy analysis of the path the program traveled through Mexico’s legislative and
administrative structures. We also analyze the characteristics of the recipients during the first 2 years, including results
from a survey of participants and community case studies. A final section extracts lessons from the Mexican experience, including
possible alternative program designs to address some of the problems encountered in its implementation.
journal published by Elsevier. The attached copy is furnished to the author for internal non-commercial research and education use, including for instruction at the authors institution and sharing with colleagues. Other uses, including reproduction and distribution, or selling or licensing copies, or posting to personal, institutional or third party websites are prohibited. In most cases authors are permitted to post their version of the article (e.g. in Word or Tex form) to their personal website or institutional repository. Authors requiring further information regarding Elsevier's archiving and manuscript policies are encouraged to visit: a b s t r a c t Win–win solutions that both conserve biodiversity and promote human well-being are difficult to realize. Trade-offs and the hard choices they entail are the norm. Since 2008, the Advancing Conservation in a Social Context (ACSC) research initiative has been investigating the complex trade-offs that exist between human well-being and biodiversity conservation goals, and between conservation and other economic, political and social agendas across multiple scales. Resolving trade-offs is difficult because social prob-lems – of which conservation is one – can be perceived and understood in a variety of disparate ways, influenced (in part at least) by how people are raised and educated, their life experiences, and the options they have faced. Pre-existing assumptions about the ''right" approach to conservation often obscure important differences in both power and understanding, and can limit the success of policy and program-matic interventions. The new conservation debate challenges conservationists to be explicit about losses, costs, and hard choices so they can be openly discussed and honestly negotiated. Not to do so can lead to unrealized expectations, and ultimately to unresolved conflict. This paper explores the background and limitations of win–win approaches to conservation and human well-being, discusses the prospect of approaching conservation challenges in terms of trade-offs and hard choices, and presents a set of guid-ing principles that can serve to orient strategic analysis and communication regarding trade-offs.
Conservation needs a revolution. This is the only way it can contribute to the drastic transformations needed to come to a truly sustainable model of development. The good news is that conservation is ready for revolution. Heated debates about the rise of the Anthropocene and the current ‘sixth extinction’ crisis demonstrate an urgent need and desire to move beyond mainstream approaches. Yet the conservation community is deeply divided over where to go from here. Some want to place ‘half earth’ into protected areas. Others want to move away from parks to focus on unexpected and ‘new’ natures. Many believe conservation requires full integration into capitalist production processes.
Building a razor-sharp critique of current conservation proposals and their contradictions, Büscher and Fletcher argue that the Anthropocene challenge demands something bigger, better and bolder. Something truly revolutionary. They propose convivial conservation as the way forward. This approach goes beyond protected areas and faith in markets to incorporate the needs of humans and nonhumans within integrated and just landscapes. Theoretically astute and practically relevant, The Conservation Revolution offers a manifesto for conservation in the twenty-first century—a clarion call that cannot be ignored.
This article carries out a psychoanalytic critique of Post-Development, arguing that the latter’s inattention to the unconscious underpinnings of power not only leaves it unable to explain why development discourse persists, but also deprives it of a radical politics, resulting in a surrender to global capitalism. Drawing on the work of Escobar, Ferguson and Esteva, the article valorises Post-Development’s important insights on the production of development discourse and its attendant power mechanisms. But using a Lacanian lens, it also probes Post-Development’s failure to address how power is mediated at the level of the subject: in maintaining that (capitalist) development is produced discursively in a cold, impersonal way (like an ‘anti-politics machine’), Post-Development ignores the fact that such power is only able to take hold, expand and, crucially, persist through unconscious libidinal attachments (e.g. desires, enjoyment). This failure leaves Post-Development with few resources – beyond localised resistance (Escobar, Esteva) or the call for a universal basic income (Ferguson) – to address the structural challenges of global capitalism. Psychoanalytically speaking, such a (Left) position appears to manifest a secret desire that nothing too much must change: Post-Development may well criticise the disciplinary mechanisms of neoliberal development, but ultimately it engages in an unconscious acceptance of capitalism.
The United Nations Millennium Development Goals initiative, designed to meet the needs of the world's poorest, ended in 2015. The purpose of this article is to describe the progress made through the Millennium Development Goals and the additional work needed to address vulnerable populations worldwide, especially women and children. A description of the subsequent Sustainable Development Goals, enacted to address the root causes of poverty and the universal need for development for all people, is provided.
In recent years, perhaps the two most prominent debates in geography on issues of biodiversity conservation have hinged upon, firstly, the positive and negative social impacts of conservation projects on human populations, and, secondly, the apparent neoliberalisation of conservation. Yet so far there have been few explicit linkages drawn between these debates. This paper moves both debates forward by presenting the first review of how the neoliberalisation of conservation has affected the kinds of impacts that conservation projects entail for local communities. It finds that, whilst there are important variegations within neoliberal conservation, processes of neoliberalisation nevertheless tend to produce certain recurring trends in their social impacts. Firstly, neoliberal conservation often involves novel forms of power, particularly those that seek to reshape local subjectivities in accordance with both conservationist and neoliberal-economic values. Secondly, it relies on greater use of use of representation and spectacle to produce commodities and access related markets, which can both create greater negative social impacts and offer new opportunities for local people to contest and reshape conservation projects. Thirdly, neoliberal conservation projects frequently widen the distribution of social impacts by interacting with pre-existing social, economic, and political inequalities. Accordingly, the paper illuminates how neoliberal approaches to conservation generate novel opportunities and constraints for struggles toward more socially and environmentally just forms of biodiversity preservation.
The initiative known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) officially became part of the international climate agenda in 2007. At that time, REDD+ was an idea regarding payment to countries (and possibly also projects) for reducing emission from forests, with funding primarily from carbon markets. The initiative has since become multi-objective in nature; the policy focus has changed from a payments for environmental services (PES) approach to broader policies, and international funding primarily originates from development aid budgets. This “aidification” of REDD+ has made the program similar to previous efforts using conditional or results-based aid (RBA). However, the experience of RBA in other sectors has scarcely been addressed in the REDD+ debate. The alleged advantages of RBA are poorly backed by empirical research. This paper reviews the primary challenges in designing and implementing a system of RBA, namely, donor spending pressure, performance criteria, reference levels, risk sharing, and funding credibility. It then reviews the four partially performance-based, bilateral REDD+ agreements that Norway has entered with Tanzania, Brazil, Guyana, and Indonesia. These agreements and the aid experience provide valuable lessons for the design and implementation of future REDD+ mechanisms.
Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) have been shown to increase human capital investments, but their standard features make them expensive. We use a large randomized experiment in Morocco to estimate an alternative government-run program, a “labeled cash transfer” (LCT): a small cash transfer made to fathers of school-aged children in poor rural communities, not conditional on school attendance but explicitly labeled as an education support program. We document large gains in school participation. Adding conditionality and targeting mothers made almost no difference in our context. The program increased parents' belief that education was a worthwhile investment, a likely pathway for the results.
The most important book yet from the author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, a brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems.In short, either we embrace radical change ourselves or radical changes will be visited upon our physical world. The status quo is no longer an option. In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism. Klein argues that the changes to our relationship with nature and one another that are required to respond to the climate crisis humanely should not be viewed as grim penance, but rather as a kind of gift—a catalyst to transform broken economic and cultural priorities and to heal long-festering historical wounds. And she documents the inspiring movements that have already begun this process: communities that are not just refusing to be sites of further fossil fuel extraction but are building the next, regeneration-based economies right now. Can we pull off these changes in time? Nothing is certain. Nothing except that climate change changes everything. And for a very brief time, the nature of that change is still up to us.
This book, based on thirty years' research, goes an important stage beyond either of these ideas: it demonstrates that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them---the well-off as well as the poor. The remarkable data the book lays out and the measures It uses are like a spirit level which we can hold up to compare the conditions of different societies. The differences revealed, even between rich market democracies, are striking. Almost every modern social and environmental problem---ill-health, lack of community life, violence, drugs, obesity, mental illness, long working hours, big prison populations---is more likely to occur in a less equal society. The Spirit Level goes to the heart of the apparent contradiction between the material success and social failings of many modern societies, but it does not simply provide a key to diagnosing our ills. It tells us how to shift the balance from self-interested 'consumerism' to a friendlier and more collaborative society. It shows a way out of the social and environmental problems which beset us and opens up a major new approach to improving the real quality of life, not just for the poor but for everyone. It is, in its conclusion, an optimistic book, which should revitalize politics and provide a new way of thinking about how we organize human communities. As the authors write, 'It falls to our generation to make one of the biggest transformations in human history. The role of this book is to point out that greater equality is the material foundation on which better social relations are built.' (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)(jacket)
Although market-based instruments (MBIs) gained prominence in discourses and practice in the field of biodiversity conservation and provision of ecosystem services, their definition and underpinning theory still are unsettled matters. A review of MBIs – including payments for ecosystem services, taxes and subsidies, mitigation or species banking, certification, etc. – clearly shows that this label encompasses an extremely diverse array of instruments. Their only shared characteristic might be the attribution of a price to nature, yet in different ways and not necessarily in conjunction with economic valuations of the benefits/impacts associated with biodiversity and ecosystem services. Their links with markets are often loose, at least contrasted if not questionable in many cases. This pleads for a better lexicon of such a large collection of policy instruments in order to better inform policy making. This lexicon is based on the links between MBIs, economic theory, and markets. It includes six generic categories: regulatory price signals, Coasean-type agreements, reverse auctions, tradable permits, direct markets, and voluntary price signals. As a matter of illustration, “Payments for Ecosystem Services” refer to various instruments in the literature and in practice. Depending on the context they could fit in all of our categories but one, so that we wonder if the term itself is not emptied of any useful meaning at least from an operational perspective. Last, the diversity of MBIs with regard to their functioning and links with markets seems to disqualify any general statement, be it in favour or against their development. In particular, MBIs as a whole cannot be said to be cost-efficient, risky, inequitable, or capable of revealing information to reach a social optimum and better environmental management.
Costa Rica’s national payment for environmental services (PES) program has inspired a large body of research, most of which seeks to assess its impacts on deforestation and/or poverty. The specific forms of governance shaping the program, by contrast, have received much less attention. While the program, like PES in general, is commonly considered a paradigmatically neoliberal “market-based” conservation mechanism, its actual operation to date has deviated substantially from this description. Despite program planners’ express intent to establish self-regulating markets for the direct transfer of payments from consumers of ecosystem services to their producers, such markets have yet to become widespread, and the program remains supported primarily by strong state intervention in various forms. Thus, while the program’s ostensive success in combating deforestation has been widely praised, we suggest that its relative inability to establish a free-standing market to accomplish this aim may be equally instructive. For instance, the ambitious Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) mechanism envisioned to mitigate climate change on a global scale takes PES as one of its main sources of inspiration, a perspective that may be complicated by acknowledgment of such gaps between “vision” and “execution” in neoliberal conservation governance.
Despite the recent popularity of conditional cash transfers (CCT) and payments for environmental services (PES) programs, what determines their success is not well understood. We developed a conceptual framework to give insight into some of the main determinants of CCT and PES program efficiency that hope to increase investments in human and environmental capital. We used a simple agent-based model and validated the results with empirical data from existing programs. We show that 1) the share of participants who meet the program’s conditions at baseline is a powerful predictor of program efficiency, (2) and selection bias erodes program efficiency to a large extent. (Selection bias stems from agents who already meet program criteria and who self-select into programs at higher rates than those who do not meet the conditions.) Based on these results, we discuss possibilities for improving efficiency—mainly by targeting applicants or increasing payments—and criteria for evaluating and choosing CCT, PES, or other policy instruments.
This article both synthesizes and critically evaluates a now large, multi-disciplinary body of published research that examines the neoliberalization of environmental regulation, management, and governance. Since the late 1970s, neoliberal ideas and ideals have gradually made their
way into the domain of environmental policy as part of a wider change in the global political economy. While the volume of empirical research is now such that we can draw some conclusions about this policy shift, the fact that the research has evolved piecemeal across so many different disciplines
has made identifying points of similarity and difference in the findings more difficult. After clarifying what neoliberalism is and explaining why the term 'neoliberalization' is preferable, the article analyzes the principal components and enumerates the social and environmental effects of
this multifaceted process. By offering a comprehensive and probing survey of the salient literature, I hope not only to codify the existing research but also to guide future critical inquiries into neoliberal environmental policy.
The term “neoliberalism” has come to be used in a wide variety of partly overlapping and partly contradictory ways. This essay seeks to clarify some of the analytical and political work that the term does in its different usages. It then goes on to suggest that making an analytical distinction between neoliberal “arts of government” and the class-based ideological “project” of neoliberalism can allow us to identify some surprising (and perhaps hopeful) new forms of politics that illustrate how fundamentally polyvalent neoliberal mechanisms of government can be. A range of empirical examples are discussed, mostly coming from my recent work on social policy and anti-poverty politics in southern Africa.
Regulatory biodiversity trading (or biodiversity “offsets”) is increasingly promoted as a way to enable both conservation and development while achieving “no net loss” or even “net gain” in biodiversity, but to date has facilitated development while perpetuating biodiversity loss. Ecologists seeking improved biodiversity outcomes are developing better assessment tools and recommending more rigorous restrictions and enforcement. We explain why such recommendations overlook and cannot correct key causes of failure to protect biodiversity. Viable trading requires simple, measurable, and interchangeable commodities, but the currencies, restrictions, and oversight needed to protect complex, difficult-to-measure, and noninterchangeable resources like biodiversity are costly and intractable. These safeguards compromise trading viability and benefit neither traders nor regulatory officials. Political theory predicts that (1) biodiversity protection interests will fail to counter motivations for officials to resist and relax safeguards to facilitate exchanges and resource development at cost to biodiversity, and (2) trading is more vulnerable than pure administrative mechanisms to institutional dynamics that undermine environmental protection. Delivery of no net loss or net gain through biodiversity trading is thus administratively improbable and technically unrealistic. Their proliferation without credible solutions suggests biodiversity offset programs are successful “symbolic policies,” potentially obscuring biodiversity loss and dissipating impetus for action.