The Predicaments of conservation

The conservation establishment in India periodically finds itself caught in a cleft stick—between the developmental onslaught on biodiversity and local resistance to conservation projects that threaten human livelihood. Conservation as a necessary agenda requires a new vision that transcends the inherent limitations of the current practice.

Are you an environmentalist or do you work for a liv-ing?" Visitors to the northwestern United States routinely encounter this query on bumper stickers. The region, popularly called the Pacific Northwest, is renowned for both its beautifully forested landscapes and its prolific timber output. The slogan captures the response of the local population to the celebrated controversy that pitted the logging industry in the region against the Spotted Owl, emblem of the US environmental movement, whose last habitat the logging industry was said to be destroying. Through the 1980s, environmentalists lobbied hard to put a stop to logging activities in the Pacific Northwest. Local people dependent on logging for their livelihoods, on the other hand, contested this fiercely.

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