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Coercing conservation: The politics of state resource control
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International environmental agreements among nation-states aim to gain the commitment of official state bodies to conserving tracts of land and supporting sustainable forms of development, especially those with "global" value. The implication is that the nation-state should be able to control the behavior of all users of all resources located within the state's (self-) declared jurisdiction, whatever the origin of the state's claim, whatever the nature of competition for those resources, and whatever the nature of origins of resistance to the state's resource control. Some states appropriate the conservation concerns of international groups as a means of eliciting support for their own control over productive natural resources. Coercion in the name of conservation is often violent; this "legitimate'' violence in the name of resource control also helps states control people, especially recalcitrant regional groups, marginal groups, or minority groups who challenge the state's authority. Documentation or discussion of the militaristic aspects of conservation is more difficult to come by and remains the key focus of this paper. Her argument relates to states willing to comply with international conservation agreements or Western conservation principles and ideologies that justify its resource management practices. Her discussion is limited to land-based resources because they are geographically bounded, tangible, and visible, and because their management has been centralized under the state in many parts of the world. The state's effectiveness in controlling access to and behavior in forests or wilderness areas represents in many ways a ''best case'' scenario of its capacity for widespread resource management. The far-reaching consequences of these coercive tactics reveal two main issues. First, local resistance to what are perceived as illegitimate state claims and controls over local resources is likely to heighten, and may lead to violent response, sabotage of resources, and degradation. Second, and most important, the outside environmental community may be weakening local resource claimants who possess less firepower than the state. Failing to venture beyond the concept of thinking globally and acting locally, the writers of international conservation initiatives often brush aside or ignore the political implications of empowering states to coercively control access to natural resources. The militarization of resource control-whether for protection or production-leads to damaging relations with the environment, not benign ones. (paraphrased summary of author's Introduction and Conclusion)