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File:Avalanche Lake, looking south.jpg
Hopetoun falls

Much attention has been given to preserving the natural characteristics of Hopetoun Falls, Australia, while allowing ample access for visitors.

The conservation of forests also known as nature conservation is a political and social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including plant and animal species as well as their habitat for the future.

The early conservation movement included fisheries and wildlife management, water, soil conservation and sustainable forestry. The contemporary conservation movement has broadened from the early movement's emphasis on use of sustainable yield of natural resources and preservation of wilderness areas to include preservation of biodiversity. Some say the conservation movement is part of the broader and more far-reaching environmental movement, while others argue that they differ both in ideology and practice. Chiefly in the United States, conservation is seen as differing from environmentalism in that it aims to preserve natural resources expressly for their continued sustainable use by humans.[1] In other parts of the world conservation is used more broadly to include the setting aside of natural areas and the active protection of wildlife for their inherent value, as much as for any value they may have for humans.

History Edit

File:Yellowstone 1871b.jpg

The nascent conservation movement slowly developed in the 19th century, starting first in the scientific forestry methods pioneered by the Germans and the French in the 17th and 18th centuries. While continental Europe created the scientific methods later used in conservationist efforts, British India and the United States are credited with starting the conservation movement.

Foresters in India, often German, managed forests using early climate change theories (in America, see also, George Perkins Marsh) that Alexander von Humboldt developed in the mid 19th century, applied fire protection, and tried to keep the "house-hold" of nature. This was an early ecological idea, in order to preserve the growth of delicate teak trees. The same German foresters who headed the Forest Service of India, such as Dietrich Brandis and Berthold Ribbentrop, traveled back to Europe and taught at forestry schools in England (Cooper's Hill, later moved to Oxford). These men brought with them the legislative and scientific knowledge of conservationism in British India back to Europe, where they distributed it to men such as Gifford Pinchot, which in turn helped bring European and British Indian methods to the United States.

Areas of concernEdit

Deforestation and overpopulation are issues affecting all regions of the world. The consequent destruction of wildlife habitat has prompted the creation of conservation groups in other countries, some founded by local hunters who have witnessed declining wildlife populations first hand. Also, it was highly important for the conservation movement to solve problems of living conditions in the cities and the overpopulation of such places.

Boreal forest and the Arctic Edit

The idea of incentive conservation is a modern one but its practice has clearly defended some of the sub Arctic wildernesses and the wildlife in those regions for thousands of years, especially by indigenous peoples such as the Evenk, Yakut, Sami, Inuit and Cree. The fur trade and hunting by these peoples have preserved these regions for thousands of years. Ironically, the pressure now upon them comes from non-renewable resources such as oil, sometimes to make synthetic clothing which is advocated as a humane substitute for fur. (See Raccoon Dog for case study of the conservation of an animal through fur trade.) Similarly, in the case of the beaver, hunting and fur trade were thought to bring about the animal's demise, when in fact they were an integral part of its conservation. For many years children's books stated and still do, that the decline in the beaver population was due to the fur trade. In reality however, the decline in beaver numbers was because of habitat destruction and deforestation, as well as its continued persecution as a pest (it causes flooding). In Cree lands however, where the population valued the animal for meat and fur, it continued to thrive. The Inuit defend their relationship with the seal in response to outside critics.[2]

In other regions of the Arctic, the Sami in Scandinavia, Russia and the Evenk in Siberia, indigenous peoples and their traditional hunting and fur trade are making a clear stand against the more "modern" resource exploitation{[3]}In Canada the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework is a multi-stakeholder initiative, which includes the Aboriginal peoples in the Canadian north.

Eighty percent of the world's furs are produced in these regions either through farming by groups such as SAGA or 22% by indigenous peoples. Fur and hunting it appears, as indeed Greenpeace are finding out in the Sami forests, is an economic barrier to development, deforestation etc. The WWF has established areas of traditional hunting and animal use in Siberia and these sable reserves are clearly based on the principles of "incentive conservation".[4]

Latin America (Bolivia) Edit

The Izoceño-Guaraní of Santa Cruz, Bolivia is a tribe of hunters who were influential in establishing the Capitania del Alto y Bajo Isoso (CABI). CABI promotes economic growth and survival of the Izoceno people while discouraging the rapid destruction of habitat within Bolivia's Gran Chaco. They are responsible for the creation of the 34,000 square kilometre Kaa-Iya del Gran Chaco National Park and Integrated Management Area (KINP). The KINP protects the most biodiverse portion of the Gran Chaco, an ecoregion shared with Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. In 1996, the Wildlife Conservation Society joined forces with CABI to institute wildlife and hunting monitoring programs in 23 Izoceño communities. The partnership combines traditional beliefs and local knowledge with the political and administrative tools needed to effectively manage habitats. The programs rely solely on voluntary participation by local hunters who perform self-monitoring techniques and keep records of their hunts. The information obtained by the hunters participating in the program has provided CABI with important data required to make educated decisions about the use of the land. Hunters have been willing participants in this program because of pride in their traditional activities, encouragement by their communities and expectations of benefits to the area.

Because of their spiritual beliefs, many hunters indigenous to this area used conservative approaches to hunting even before population declines were noted. Common self-imposed conservation techniques followed by this tribe include seasonal rotation of hunting areas; not hunting young animals; not hunting excessively beyond the needs of ones family; not hunting vulnerable species; and the substitution of other activities during certain seasons (fishing/farming).

Africa (Botswana) Edit

In order to discourage illegal South African hunting parties and ensure future local use and sustainability, indigenous hunters in Botswana began lobbying for and implementing conservation practices in the 1960s. The Fauna Preservation Society of Ngamiland (FPS) was formed in 1962 by the husband and wife team: Robert Kay and June Kay, environmentalists working in conjunction with the Batawana tribes to preserve wildlife habitat.

The FPS promotes habitat conservation and provides local education for preservation of wildlife. Conservation initiatives were met with strong opposition from the Botswana government because of the monies tied to big-game hunting. In 1963, BaTawanga Chiefs and tribal hunter/adventurers in conjunction with the FPS founded Moremi National Park and Wildlife Refuge, the first area to be set aside by tribal people rather than governmental forces. Moremi National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including lions, giraffes, elephants, buffalo, zebra, cheetahs and antelope, and covers an area of 3,000 square kilometers. Most of the groups involved with establishing this protected land were involved with hunting and were motivated by their personal observations of declining wildlife and habitat.

See also Edit


References Edit

  1. Gifford, John C. (1945). Living by the Land, 8, Coral Gables, Florida: Glade House. Template:ASIN.
  2. Inuit Ask Europeans to Support Its Seal Hunt and Way of Life. URL accessed on 12 July 2007.
  3. www.survival-international.org/news/985
  4. Traditional use of protected areas in the Russian Arctic. URL accessed on 12 July 2007.

Further reading Edit

  • Bates, J. Leonard. "Fulfilling American Democracy: The Conservation Movement, 1907 to 1921", The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 44, No. 1. (Jun., 1957), pp. 29–57. in JSTOR
  • Barton, Gregory A. Empire Forestry and the Origins of Environmentalism, Cambridge University Press, 2001
  • Bolaane, Maitseo. "Chiefs, Hunters & Adventurers: The Foundation of the Okavango/Moremi National Park, Botswana". Journal of Historical Geography. 31.2 (Apr. 2005): 241-259.
  • Clover, Charles. 2004. The End of the Line: How overfishing is changing the world and what we eat. Ebury Press, London. ISBN 0-09-189780-7
  • Hays, Samuel P. "Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency" Harvard University Press, 1959.
  • Herring, Hall and Thomas McIntyre. "Hunting's New Ambassadors (Sporting Conservation Council) ". Field and Stream. 111.2 (June 2006): p. 18.
  • Judd, Richard W. "Common Lands and Common People, The Origins of Conservation in Northern New England" Harvard University Press, 1997
  • Nash, Roderick. "Wilderness and the American Mind" Yale University Press, 1967
  • Noss, Andrew and Imke Oetting. "Hunter Self-Monitoring by the Izoceño -Guarani in the Bolivian Chaco". Biodiversity & Conservation. 14.11 (2005): 2679-2693.
  • Pope, Carl. "A Sporting Chance – Sportsmen and Sportswomen are some of the biggest supporters for the preservation of wildlife". Sierra. 81.3 (May/June 1996): 14.
  • Reiger, George. "Common Ground: Battles Over Hunting Only Draw Attention Away From the Real Threat to Wildlife". Field and Stream. 100.2 (June 1985): p. 12.
  • Reiger, George. "Sportsmen Get No Respect (Media Ignores Role of Sportsmen in Conservation) ". Field and Stream. 101.10 (Feb 1997): p. 18.

External links Edit


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