The issue of conservation is much more divisive than it might appear. It is widely recognised that we need to protect the earth’s ecosystems, which underpin the very health of the planet. It is equally widely recognised that human activity presents a significant threat to many of these vital ecosystems.
The challenge is to provide this protection without excluding the communities whose livelihoods rely on these ecosystems.
Market-based mechanisms are currently in vogue. These risk commoditising conservation to the extent that the benefits are captured by wealthy investors, and local communities are removed from their lands in the name of conservation.
Discourses that forward a people-less vision of conservation must be challenged, and market-based mechanisms must be scrutinised to make sure that the benefits are allocated in a fair and just manner.