Trophy hunting for conservation and development in Namibia? The limitations of economic benefits and the role of science

By Stasja Koot, 12 February 2019

Recent years have shown an increase in the, often heated, debate on trophy hunting, with some important developments taking place in southern Africa. To name just some that have accelerated the debate: In 2012, pictures of King Juan Carlos of Spain emerged in which he posed in front of his trophies, an elephant and two African buffaloes. As a result of the public outcry that followed, the King was dismissed as the honorary president of WWF Spain, which is ironic when realising that various WWF offices in southern Africa support trophy hunting in the name of conservation and development. Other important developments have been a ban on trophy hunting in Botswana in 2013, a very controversial hunt of a black rhino in Namibia for US$350,000 in 2015 and the infamous illegal hunt of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe in 2015. Royal connections of this hobby for the wealthy have a long history and continue today. The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, for example, currently speaks out against the trophy hunting ban in Botswana.

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CSPS SYMPOSIUM: TOWARDS CONVIVIAL CONSERVATION? Governing Human-Wildlife Relations in the ‘Anthropocene’ (CONVIVA)

POSTER conviva

Please click here for the website and full program of this symposium.

Convivial conservation is a new conservation approach that aims to move beyond currently dominant paradigms that promote nature-culture dualisms and market-based funding mechanisms. Both of these are increasingly recognized as obstacles to sustainable conservation, yet viable alternatives for transcending them have yet to be organized into a new paradigm and approach. The convivial conservation proposal has been conceptualized to fill this precise gap in envisioning integrated landscapes and new forms of wealth redistribution. Yet for its further practical operationalization, broader discussions amongst different conservation actors are needed.

This research symposium aims to give a strong impetus to these discussions by focusing on different responses to human-wildlife conflict cases around the world that may contain elements of a broader convivial conservation approach.

Broadcasted Seminar on “Water Justice and the Commons”

Broadcasted Seminar on “Water Justice and the Commons”

Date: Thursday, May 24th 2018
Time: From 15 to 18h
Venue: Room Z/022 ICTA-UAB

The conventional theory of the commons has been criticized for its relative inattention to how historically-shaped patterns of power, conflict, the ‘state’ and the broader political-economic context shape the access to and uses of common resources, and distributional consequences of different institutional arrangements for community-based natural resource management. The tragedy of the commons that Hardin had so popularized is not just the result of commoners’ individualistic behavior but may well also stem from the acts of more powerful, profit-seeking actors. Benefits and costs of resource management are commonly unequally distributed and shaped by power relations and political-economic structures; these conditions often lead to social movements and conflicts. Indeed, it has been argued that the history of commons has always been a history of struggle between the dynamic of enclosures driven by the systemic need for capital accumulation, and that of commoning to defend and reconstitute commons. Read more

Tourism, labour and the rhino poaching crisis in South Africa

By Stasja Koot, 12 December 2017

In the Kruger to Canyon (K2C) region, South Africa, there are two big phenomena of which the interactions have so far hardly been researched: tourism and the rhino poaching crisis. Based on four field trips to South Africa in 2016/17, totalling about 3 months, I have investigated these links, and here I wish to present some first ideas. In particular, I wish to explain one important tension that I observed; the role of labour in tourism and how this is related to the rhino poaching crisis. Read more

THANK YOU from Wageningen and welcome to Lancaster!

Dear POLLEN members,

From now on, the Lancaster Environment Centre at the Lancaster University is taking over the POLLEN secretariat! We from Sociology of Development and Change, Wageningen University, the Netherlands, want to thank everybody for being a part in this great and important initiative for the last 2.5 years. We have had the honor of being central to setting POLLEN up and to work with many inspiring political ecologists from all over the world. As has been the plan from the start, POLLEN was established as a participatory platform for political ecologists world-wide to voice their ideas and get in touch with each other, in a field that gets more important every day. One of the highlights has been to organize the first POLLEN Conference in 2016, where we welcomed close to 450 people from around the world to debate many important issues around the themes ‘Conflict, Capitalism and Contestation’. Right now, we are very excited about and looking forward to the second biannual POLLEN conference, which will be held from 20-22 June 2018 in Oslo (see: for the CfP).

Of course, this is no goodbye: we will stay actively involved in future POLLEN activities and continue to assist where we can. For now, we wish Lancaster a very good time as the new POLLEN secretariat!

Thank you all and best wishes,

Stasja Koot

Bram Büscher

Rob Fletcher

Why Amazonian forest peoples are ‘counter-mapping’ their ancestral lands

29122014-DSC_1968.jpg“The earth is our mother. We should look after and respect her. This territory is where the peccary passed. Under the authority of Karodaybi [the first Munduruku warrior] Mauricio Torres, Author provided

Author: James Fraser

In 1707, a Jesuit missionary from the Czech Republic named Samuel Fritz published one of the first detailed maps of the Amazon River. Fritz spent much of his life in the region and his map names and locates (often incorrectly) many of the Amazonian forest peoples he encountered. In this sense, his map helped tie them to certain places, and to particular colonially-defined identities.

While Fritz was mapping out the Amazon, other Europeans were hard at work in tropical forested countries across the globe, drawing up boundaries that ignored and criminalised forest peoples’ customary rights to live in their ancestral territories. Read more