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The natural environment underpins human well-being in diverse and complex ways, providing both material and non-material benefits. Effective conservation requires context-specific understandings of human interactions with, and conceptions of, nature. A focus on how cultural values and norms frame relationships with the natural world can enhance conservation efforts, and can prevent conservation actions undermining local culture and values, providing opportunities to reinforce them instead. Conservation, including the conceptualization and management of protected areas, has the potential to support or undermine these culture–nature relationships. A cultural values approach seeks to identify, understand and integrate considerations of cultural values into the design and implementation of conservation initiatives. Such approaches can realize diverse benefits, including maintaining and enhancing local culture (as a contribution to human well-being), deepening links between communities and conservation activities; facilitating parallel conservation of nature and culture; promoting non-material as well as material natural values; and allowing specific cultural values to inform and drive conservation efforts. Cultural values approaches thus help to enhance the equity, efficacy and acceptability of conservation practice. Fauna & Flora International has implicitly and explicitly acknowledged cultural values within project design and delivery for over 20 years. In 2011 a Cultural Values Programme was established to enhance the role of cultural values of species, places and practices, and of individual and group identities, within conservation. Here we describe our evolving approach to integrating cultural values into conservation practice, provide key lessons learnt, based on specific case studies, and relate these to wider conservation policy and practice.
Originally proposed in 2005 as a way to use financial incentives to tackle global climate change, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) has evolved to include conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, in what is now known as REDD+. Biodiversity protection is still viewed principally as a co-benefit of the REDD+ process, with conservation of forest tree cover and carbon stocks providing the main measure of success. However, focusing solely on tree cover and carbon stocks does not always protect other species, which may be threatened by other factors, most notably hunting. We present evidence from the literature that loss of biodiversity can affect forest composition, tree survival and forest resilience and may in some cases ultimately lead to a reduction in carbon storage. We argue that REDD+ projects should specifically mitigate for threats to biodiversity if they are to maximize carbon storage potential in the long term.
To use more effectively the limited resources available for conservation there is an urgent need to identify which conservation approaches are most likely to succeed. However, measuring conservation success is often difficult, as it is achieved outside the project time frame. Measures of implementation are often reported to donors to demonstrate achievement but it is unclear whether they really predict conservation success. We applied a conceptual framework and score-card developed by the Cambridge Conservation Forum (CCF) to a sample of 60 conservation activities to determine the predictive power of implementation measures versus measures of key outcomes (later steps in the models defined in the CCF tools). We show that assessing key outcomes is often more difficult than quantifying the degree of implementation of a project but that, while implementation is a poor predictor of success, key outcomes provide a feasible and much more reliable proxy for whether a project will deliver real conservation benefits. The CCF framework and evaluation tool provide a powerful basis for synthesizing past experience and, with wider application, will help to identify factors that affect the success of conservation activities.
In this paper we describe the outcomes of a 10-year project that provided an alternative source of material for the international trade in bulbous plants from Turkey. In the mid 1980s the export of wild bulbs was extensive and was considered to be unsustainable. Building on the opportunities for propagation of snowdrops (Galanthus spp.), this project produced bulbs for trade, taking into account provision of local livelihoods and income generation, utilization of existing trade structures, regulation through national legislation, monitoring of overseas suppliers, and customer sensitization. Three villages and over 250 villagers were ultimately involved in bulb propagation. The project demonstrated that bulbs for an international market can be produced within a village environment to meet CITES criteria for artificial propagation. Through the application of rural development, local horticultural training, international legislation, fair-trade, and environmental consumer issues the project also illustrates the complexities of integrated approaches to trade issues. This paper presents in detail the methods used in developing this model for local plant propagation, and highlights the lessons learnt from the project.
Over the last 50 years there has been increasing use of charismatic large mammals and birds as ‘flagship species’ to raise funds and promote the ethos of conservation. However, species chosen to appeal to donor and membership groups may not necessarily be considered popular among local communities. A growing recognition of the need to engage local communities in conservation makes them an increasingly important audience for information about conservation. In such situations an awareness of the local perception and value of different species is central to choosing effective flagships. Emphasising this, we propose 10 criteria for the selection of flagship species. We then describe three examples of local flagship species and assess their use against these criteria: the Asian elephant Elephas maximus for the conservation of landscapes in Aceh, Indonesia, the flying fox Pteropus voeltzkowi for forest protection on Pemba Island, Tanzania, and the ceiba or kapok tree Ceiba pentandra for the conservation of forests in Belize.
The Pemba flying fox Pteropus voeltzkowi is a fruit bat endemic to the island of Pemba, off Tanzania. A total of 41 reported roosting areas were visited in June and July 1995, and 19 occupied roosts were located, most of them in the west of the island, and on small islets off the west and south of Pemba. Roosts were situated in primary forest, secondary forest (overgrown clove plantations), traditional graveyards and mangrove areas. A range of sizes and species of trees were used as roosts. The minimum population of P. voeltzkowi was estimated to be between 4600 and 5500 individuals. In total 94 per cent of the population was located at 10 roost sites. Larger colonies were associated with roosts located in forests, which together supported 75 per cent of the total bat population. Colonies were of mixed sex, but no young or obviously pregnant females were observed. Major threats to this species appeared to be hunting and deforestation (both logging and clearing for agriculture) and P. voeltzkowi is considered to be endangered.
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