Co-Learning for a Sustainable Future essay

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Rutagarama, E. & Martin, a. (2006). Partnerships for protected area conservation in Rwanda.

The Geographical Journal, 172(4), 291-293.

Summary of the content: The authors work at the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, African Wildlife Foundation and School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, respectively, who emphasize the importance of developing networks of partnerships in developing countries that include national, regional and local government agencies as well communities, NGOs and the private sector to promote sustainable biodiversity conservation initiatives. Such partnerships can avoid the tendency to adopt extreme positions with respect to sustainable uses of natural resources such as the "fortress conservation" approach that discourages resource used by human populations on the one hand and the reckless use of natural resources with little regard for future sustainability on the other.

Describe of its potential application to topic: Many of the most valuable biodiverse environments are situated in developing nations, making this type of analysis a timely and valuable contribution to the investigation of sustainable practices and how social learning networks can be used to facilitate the process. This study also provides a useful overview of what types of constraints are typically involved in developing biodiversity conservation efforts.

Identify any limitations that it may have for the topic: Although the authors present a general overview concerning how social learning networks can be used to promote biodiversity conservation, their analysis is largely restricted to the unique circumstances that are currently faced by Rwanda, including the specific governmental agencies, NGOs and others who are involved, making larger generalizations difficult.

Reaction: This study helped me better understand the importance of biodiversity conservation for developing countries that are faced with making some difficult choices concerning the exploitation of their natural resources with little regard for the future and ensuring that sustainable practices are implemented today. This study also highlighted the fierce competition that exists at all levels for scarce resources.

Majeres, J. (2002, December). The politics of biodiversity. World and I, 17(12), 54.

Summary of the content: The author is a fellow in environmental studies at the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco who reports the creation of a number of community-level partnerships in recent years between private conservation groups and local peoples to promote biodiversity conservation at the international level. The author stresses the need for more of these types of community-level partnerships, particularly during periods of economic downturn when governments may lack of funds needed to support such conservation initiatives. In addition, the author recommends more cataloging of unknown species, particularly in tropical regions where the biodiversity is greatest, to help determine where priorities should be placed.

Describe of its potential application to topic: In order to develop better methods of assessing and monitoring biodiversity, there is a need to learn from the people who actually live in and around these regions. This community-level partnership approach is also highly cost-effective, an especially important consideration when economic resources are scarce.

Identify any limitations that it may have for the topic: To some degree, the author adopts a "Chicken Little" perspective and even becomes downright alarmist at certain points concerning the need for more action today to prevent further degradations of the environment. Notwithstanding this limitation, though (which could in fact be warranted), the views presented were otherwise balanced.

Reaction: The author's point that in order to improve something, it must first be measured is consistent with modern business axioms and reflects the need for developing partnerships between local peoples and conservation organizations that can learn from each other so that more effective approaches to biodiversity conservation can be achieved.

Roussel, B. & Verdeaux, F. (2007). Natural patrimony and local communities in Ethiopia:

Advantages and limitations of a system of geographical indications. Africa, 77(1), 130-

Summary of the content: The authors are educators and conservation researchers who emphasize the need to incorporate local expertise in the biodiversity conservation policy-making process through the forging of partnerships. Citing the need for labels for products and protections system derived from the exploitation of biodiverse regions through the use of geographic indications, the authors also point out that notwithstanding its potential, such approaches are not without their limitations and constraints. Because Ethiopia was in the process of implementing such an approach at the time of writing, the authors suggest that their experiences provide useful insights into what problems can be expected by others.

Describe of its potential application to topic: A wide range of agricultural, food and craft products that are derived from biodiverse regions have been assigned geographical names over the centuries such as Ceylon tea and Cuban cigars as a way to inform buyers concerning their source and quality. These same assignments are increasingly being viewed as tools that can be used to promote sustainable biodiversity conservation efforts that take local cultural heritage factors into account.

Identify any limitations that it may have for the topic: Although geographical indication schemes can extract greater value from local knowledge and biodiversity, the authors concede that the approach was not originally designed for biodiversity conservation efforts and it has its limits. The authors also employ a somewhat abstruse writing style that requires several readings to fully understanding their main points.

Reaction: This was a useful study because it presented a unique perspective concerning how centuries'-old marketing methods can help generate funds that can be used to support biodiversity conservation efforts in the 21st century. Despite the limitations and problems associated with the geographical identification, further innovations in supporting technology and refinements of methods will likely make this a highly useful technique in the future.

Wadley, R.L. (2003). Ethics of access, boundary keeping and forest resource management in Indonesian Borneo: Potential tools for conservation work among mobile peoples.

Nomadic Peoples, 7(1), 52-54.

Summary of the content: Author was Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Missouri-Columbia at the time of writing who reports the shift in thinking from traditional models to those that embrace co-management and collaborative management between the local communities that rely on natural resources and conservation authorities. The prevailing basis for this shift has been a growing consensus that such cooperative efforts result in improved biodiversity conservation outcomes. To achieve positive outcomes, though, conservation authorities must learn how local peoples have traditionally used and managed these natural resources. Frequently overlooked in the analysis, though, is how recent political factors have influenced the process.

Describe of its potential application to topic: Author's emphasis on learning factors such as the physical characteristics of natural resources, the social meanings assigned to these resources, and changing balance between individual and group control as well as the potential substitutability of other resources makes this assessment a useful departure point for further investigation concerning biodiversity conservation efforts in other regions.

Identify any limitations that it may have for the topic: Author uses a pseudonym only in order to conceal the actual location of the forest region located in West Kalimantan, Indonesia but does provide sufficient details to describe how local tribes have sough to set aside certain regions of their forest areas to prevent logging by government and private sector interests.

Reaction: The paltry sums being paid to local people in Indonesia for their valuable hardwood resources (in some cases just a few dollars or some rice) emphasizes the need to develop more collaborative approaches to managing their resources to ensure their long-term sustainability. The need for conservation authorities to become more informed concerning local values and uses of these resources was an interesting point.

Yaho, C.Y. & Roussel, B. (2007). Forest management, farmers' practices and biodiversity conservation in the Monogaga Protected Coastal Forest in southwest Cote d'Ivoire.

Africa, 77(1), 63-66.

Summary of the content: More rigorous biodiversity conservation standards demand a new perspective concerning the interactions between conservation and local practices. Citing the "fortress protection" extreme that would prevent all uses of forest resources by local peoples, the authors cite the case of local farmers who believe that regular use of these resources as well as the periodic clearing of these lands helps to promote long-term environmental sustainability. By creating partnerships between these extremes, it is possible for develop more informed approaches to biodiversity conservation that can take advantage of what local peoples have learned about the process over the millennia.

Describe of its potential application to topic: The essence of develop more informed approaches to biodiversity conservation is learning how and why local peoples have historically used their techniques and what effects these techniques have had on the sustainability of these regions. Of particular interest was the authors' use of field studies to illustrate the biodiversity outcomes based on the "fortress protection" approach vs. The farmers' approach, with some species being more prevalent in both.

Identify any limitations that it may have for the topic: The authors use just a few species to illustrate the respective outcomes they cite based on what approach to biodiversity conservation…[continue]

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