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Zero poaching and social sustainability in protected areas : a study of Chitwan National Park, Nepal

Pant, Hitesh LU (2016) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20162
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
Protected areas (PAs) embody a historical legacy of value contestation and human exclusion. While the rise of community-based conservation in the 1980s sought to reconfigure this mechanism by running a counter narrative arguing that biodiversity conservation and development were mutually reinforcing objectives, exclusionary PAs continue to maintain a strong position in the conservation discourse. The militarization of PAs as a response to the rise in global poaching has allowed state and non-state conservation agencies to wield extensive power as a moral imperative to preserve iconic species. This undertaking is notable in the recent “zero-poaching” campaign, which aims to shut all incidences of illicit mega-fauna poaching within national... (More)
Protected areas (PAs) embody a historical legacy of value contestation and human exclusion. While the rise of community-based conservation in the 1980s sought to reconfigure this mechanism by running a counter narrative arguing that biodiversity conservation and development were mutually reinforcing objectives, exclusionary PAs continue to maintain a strong position in the conservation discourse. The militarization of PAs as a response to the rise in global poaching has allowed state and non-state conservation agencies to wield extensive power as a moral imperative to preserve iconic species. This undertaking is notable in the recent “zero-poaching” campaign, which aims to shut all incidences of illicit mega-fauna poaching within national parks. Supported by prominent conservation groups, the campaign has been able garner momentum after Nepal, one of its member countries, declared four non-consecutive years of zero poaching in its PAs. While conservation groups in Nepal repeatedly stress that they work in tandem with local groups in park buffer zones to deter wildlife crime and support community development, the mechanisms of these social transformations are less evident in the campaigns’ media reports, and their modes of operation less scrutinized. Drawing on concepts developed from Antonio Gramsci's studies on cultural hegemony, I review the historical development of anti-poaching from its roots in England in the 18th century to its internationalization in the mid twentieth century. The modern turn towards heightened militarization as a win-win solution for conservation and development is specifically studied within the context of Nepal’s Chitwan National Park (CNP), which has been globally recognized as a model for species protection after achieving successive years of zero poaching. I apply a document analysis to test the extent to which CNP adheres to zero poaching’s objective of local participation and inclusive development. Both state and non-state organizations have utilized the mass media to promote the idea of community-led conservation, but the park’s five year management plan reveals that it fails to fully incorporate guidelines from the zero poaching toolkit. Zero poaching marks a turn within international conservation to mainstream an anti-poaching strategy that follows on sustainability’s criteria of transdisciplinary research, mainly by promoting a management technique that aims to account for different value systems, views and interests of stakeholders across the supply chain of wildlife crime. However, to turn into a counter-hegemonic force in conservation, it needs to become a reactionary agent against the old framing of human-wildlife conflict and poaching that still inhibits holistic social sustainability in its target regions. (Less)
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author
Pant, Hitesh LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20162
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
zero poaching, fortress conservation, Chitwan, Gramsci, sustainability science
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2016:032
language
English
id
8893925
date added to LUP
2016-10-26 22:56:11
date last changed
2016-10-26 22:56:11
@misc{8893925,
  abstract     = {Protected areas (PAs) embody a historical legacy of value contestation and human exclusion. While the rise of community-based conservation in the 1980s sought to reconfigure this mechanism by running a counter narrative arguing that biodiversity conservation and development were mutually reinforcing objectives, exclusionary PAs continue to maintain a strong position in the conservation discourse. The militarization of PAs as a response to the rise in global poaching has allowed state and non-state conservation agencies to wield extensive power as a moral imperative to preserve iconic species. This undertaking is notable in the recent “zero-poaching” campaign, which aims to shut all incidences of illicit mega-fauna poaching within national parks. Supported by prominent conservation groups, the campaign has been able garner momentum after Nepal, one of its member countries, declared four non-consecutive years of zero poaching in its PAs. While conservation groups in Nepal repeatedly stress that they work in tandem with local groups in park buffer zones to deter wildlife crime and support community development, the mechanisms of these social transformations are less evident in the campaigns’ media reports, and their modes of operation less scrutinized. Drawing on concepts developed from Antonio Gramsci's studies on cultural hegemony, I review the historical development of anti-poaching from its roots in England in the 18th century to its internationalization in the mid twentieth century. The modern turn towards heightened militarization as a win-win solution for conservation and development is specifically studied within the context of Nepal’s Chitwan National Park (CNP), which has been globally recognized as a model for species protection after achieving successive years of zero poaching. I apply a document analysis to test the extent to which CNP adheres to zero poaching’s objective of local participation and inclusive development. Both state and non-state organizations have utilized the mass media to promote the idea of community-led conservation, but the park’s five year management plan reveals that it fails to fully incorporate guidelines from the zero poaching toolkit. Zero poaching marks a turn within international conservation to mainstream an anti-poaching strategy that follows on sustainability’s criteria of transdisciplinary research, mainly by promoting a management technique that aims to account for different value systems, views and interests of stakeholders across the supply chain of wildlife crime. However, to turn into a counter-hegemonic force in conservation, it needs to become a reactionary agent against the old framing of human-wildlife conflict and poaching that still inhibits holistic social sustainability in its target regions.},
  author       = {Pant, Hitesh},
  keyword      = {zero poaching,fortress conservation,Chitwan,Gramsci,sustainability science},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Zero poaching and social sustainability in protected areas : a study of Chitwan National Park, Nepal},
  year         = {2016},
}