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In the Year of Biodiversity Conservation, are the conservationists up to the job?

There are a few examples of success, but surely the answer is no, they are not. One of the joys of teaching our students is that they persist in asking the difficult questions and reminding us that not all is well.

 

Despite the celebratory atmosphere in South Africa at the last World Parks Congress, when successive countries ceded ever more land to conservation, the reality is that the conservationists are not able to conserve the habitat and species that they control. They are often running paper parks. They will argue that they need yet more resources, I for one am not convinced. In the International Year of Biodiversity, it is not unreasonable to expect a little more critical reflection by the conservation industry on what has been achieved. 

 

One of our students from the sub-continent wrote to me recently arguing that change is required in the approach to conservation in India. He went on to argue that in India the forest dwellers are amongst the poorest, living at or near starvation levels and that there has been a

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