Beyond the square wheel: Toward a more comprehensive understanding of biodiversity conservation as social and political process
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In this article, we build on an accompanying critique of recent writings in international biodiversity conservation (this issue, 15 January 2002, pp. 17-40). Many scholars and observers are calling for more stringent enforcement of protected area boundaries given the perceived failure of integrated conservation and development projects and other people-oriented approaches to safeguard biodiversity. Pointing to many ongoing, field-based efforts, we argue that this resurgent focus on authoritarian protection practices largely overlooks key aspects of social and political process including: clarification of moral standpoint, legitimacy, governance, accountability, learning and non-local forces. Following a discussion of these six points, we offer a series of recommendations aimed at highlighting existing work and encouraging dialogue and constructive debate on the ways in which biodiversity protection interventions are carried out in developing countries.