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Battles Over Nature: Science and the Politics of Conservation

Mahesh Rangarajan (Editor) Vasant K. Saberwal (Editor)
Synopsis In this book, biologists, sociologists, historians and activists come together to search out solutions to the key problems of contemporary conservation practices. Much of the world's wildlife and biological diversity is located in less developed countries where there is intense competition for resources between people and wildlife. Common questions face all such countries. Should the state or should local communities manage natural resources? Should 'western science' or 'local knowledge' form the basis of national park management? Sharply opposed dualities of this kind have begun preventing people from perceiving a viable middle ground that will enable effective conservation practices. Focusing on India, but also exploring comparable situations in Africa, this book makes the case for a better exploration of this middle ground, and argues for the need to involve not just urban enthusiasts, scientists and foresters but also the villager. Contributors debate the exclusionary aspects of Indian conservation even as they urge the need to look past romantic notions of egalitarian village republics that will cherish their forests. Biologists demonstrate how, in specific instances, human interference has changed protected areas. Some articles stress the value of local participation in conservation. The book calls for more imaginative handling of an inherently difficult political situation. In a world rapidly losing its ecological heritage, these are questions relevant to all of us.
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About the authors

Mahesh Rangarajan

Mahesh Rangarajan is Director, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, and former Professor of Modern History, University of Delhi. An environmental historian, he has also been a political analyst and has written extensively on conservation issues. He has also taught at Cornell University, New York; Jadavpur University, Kolkata; and at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru.

Vasant K. Saberwal

Vasant Saberwal Program Officer, Environment and Development, Ford Foundation, New Delhi.

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Bibliographic information

Title Battles Over Nature: Science and the Politics of Conservation
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2003
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Permanent Black
Language: English
isbn 8178240480, 9788178240480
length xii+412p.,