1 Tahrcountry Musings: Biodiversity conservation and human welfare – Attempts for tradeoffs

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Biodiversity conservation and human welfare – Attempts for tradeoffs

Hard choices: Making trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and human well-being

Thomas O. McShane, Paul D. Hirsch, Tran Chi Trung, Alexander N. Songorwa, Ann Kinzig, Bruno Monteferri, David Mutekanga, Hoang Van Thang, Juan Luis Dammert, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Meredith Welch-Devine, J. Peter Brosius, Peter Coppolillo, Sheila O’Connor
Pages 966-972,  Biological Conservation Volume 144, Issue 3, March 2011

A Win–win solution where biodiversity conservation goes hand in hand with human welfare looks good in theory, but is difficult to practice. The researchers say trade-offs and hard choices are sine qua non in the present scenario.

Even a proper analysis is difficult. The researchers say “social problems – of which conservation is one – can be perceived and understood in a variety of disparate ways, influenced (in part at least) by how people are raised and educated, their life experiences, and the options they have faced.”

Pre-existing assumptions about the “right” approach to conservation often creates a smokescreen It can befuddle important differences in both power and understanding, and can limit the success of policy and programmatic interventions. The new conservation debate challenges conservationists to be explicit about losses, costs, and hard choices so they can be openly discussed and honestly negotiated. Not to do so can lead to unrealized expectations, and ultimately to unresolved conflict.

This paper explores the background and limitations of win–win approaches to conservation and human well-being, discusses the prospect of approaching conservation challenges in terms of trade-offs and hard choices, and presents a set of guiding principles that can serve to orient strategic analysis and communication regarding trade-offs.

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