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Volume 87, #3 • Summer 2014

 

SPECIAL COLLECTION:

Hybrid Landscapes: Science, Conservation, and the Production
of Nature

 

INTRODUCTION

Hybrid Landscapes: Science, Conservation, and the Production of Nature

Reade Davis, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Laura Zanotti, Purdue University

 

Entangled Realms: Hunters and Hunted in the Dzanga Sangha Dense Forest Reserve (RDS), Central African Republic

Carolyn A. Jost Robinson, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Melissa J. Remis, Purdue University

ABSTRACT — Researchers across disciplines have struggled to understand the entanglement of human-environment relationships. Nowhere are these entanglements more evident than among human communities situated within protected areas. These communities often rely on natural resources, such as wildlife, as an integral component of daily livelihoods. The success of human livelihood strategies and the continued presence of wildlife hinges upon our ability to understand inherently dependent relationships between animals and humans. Using the bushmeat trade as an entry point, this paper draws on theoretical developments in anthropology, specifically mutual ecologies and data-based approaches to wildlife management, to examine relationships between hunters and hunted in the Dzanga-Sangha Dense Forest Reserve (RDS). [Keywords: Natureculture, mutual ecologies, bushmeat, Central Africa, transdisciplinary research, ethnography]

 

A Disciplined Space: The Co-evolution of Conservation and Militarization
on the U.S.–Mexico Border

Lisa Meierotto, Boise State University

ABSTRACT — Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge is located in southern Arizona along the US-Mexico border. Since its inception as a conservation site, the federally-protected wildlife refuge has also been home to a constellation of military activities including an Air Force training and bombing range, and more recently Border Patrol and the development of Homeland Security. This article describes how conservation and militarization have co-evolved in a complex yet often symbiotic relationship across time and space. Cabeza Prieta’s location on the international border results in an uneasy balance, promoting protection of nature along with protection of national security. The environmental history of the dual processes of conservation and militarization at the refuge enhances our understanding of contemporary environmental challenges in this hybrid landscape. The overarching theme is one of increasing control over a wilderness borderland region—a “disciplined space” in the words of Michel Foucault. [Keywords: Environmental history, conservation, militarization, US-Mexico border, ecological security]

 

Hybrid Natures?: Community Conservation Partnerships in the Kayapó Lands

Laura Zanotti, Purdue University

ABSTRACT — This article analyzes a more than two-decade long partnership between the Kayapó, an Amazonian indigenous group, and a large environmental non-governmental organization. Drawing from political ecology and science and technology studies and building upon the literature concerning community-conservation partnerships, I examine the outcomes of an ecological research program near one village in Brazil. While scholars have posited that hybridized forms of knowledge, landscapes, and practice result from such interactions, I explore the applicability of hybridity in such contexts. Interpersonal relationships, storied events, and the practice and production of knowledge emerge as key elements to consider when examining the outcomes of this partnership. Results suggest new ways of framing the co-constituted nature of bio-cultural environments in ways that are attentive to the formation and expression of social relationships over time. [Keywords: Hybridity, Amazon, political ecology, community-conservation]

 

Tribal Science and Farmers’ Resistance: A Political Ecology of Salmon Habitat Restoration in the American Northwest

Sara Jo Breslow, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

ABSTRACT — In the northwest corner of the US, commercial farmers defend their place-based heritage against the scientific and regulatory strategies of local Native American tribes seeking to restore salmon habitat in agricultural areas. The apparent irony of this scenario stems from a set of relatively unique circumstances in the American Northwest that complicates dominant narratives and allegiances in political ecology and related fields. Ethnographic and historical evidence shows how a century of tribal activism to regain treaty fishing rights has collided with new forms of activism among county-supported farmers, whose counter-discourses depict themselves as stewards of the land. This case represents an exception to the more commonly observed pattern in which Western science and state power threaten to erode indigenous culture. It nevertheless suggests that the instrumentalist approach to salmon habitat restoration in Washington State, on the part of tribal and non-tribal entities alike, constrains ecosystem recovery by preventing a sophisticated understanding of its complex social and cultural dimensions. A detailed understanding of the histories and place-based identities that motivate the political engagement of both the tribal and agricultural communities, as summarized here, could inform more socially effective strategies for achieving actual habitat restoration goals. [Keywords: Political ecology, environmental science, salmon habitat restoration, agriculture, Native Americans]

 

A Cod Forsaken Place? Fishing in an Altered State in Newfoundland

Reade Davis, Memorial University of Newfoundland

ABSTRACT — The collapse of cod stocks in the waters off Newfoundland in the early 1990s was widely understood as an ecological disaster and the death of a rural way of life that had endured for centuries. While many areas have remained closed to commercial cod fishing for two full decades, growing numbers of commercial fishers and some fisheries scientists now agree that stocks in several areas are finally showing signs of rebuilding. While the biological recovery of cod populations was once widely viewed as being essential to the future well-being of coastal communities, many commercial fishers now publicly express concerns about the possibility of this scenario actually coming to pass. This article explores the roots of these changing constructions of cod. I argue that making sense of the anxieties and uncertainties that presently surround the question of cod recovery requires paying close attention to the ways in which access to fishery resources has been transformed over time, as well as to the ways in which changing production chains for seafood products, shifting scientific paradigms and practices, and unexpected changes in the marine environment have converged in ways that are fundamentally challenging many previously held notions of the ecological good. [Keywords: Fisheries, science and technology, political ecology, endangered species, Newfoundland]

 

Ecology of Rule: Territorial Assemblages and Environmental Governance in Rural Mongolia

Daniel J. Murphy, University of Cincinnati

ABSTRACT — This article constitutes an attempt to understand recent transformations in territorial authority and rule amongst rural pastoralists in eastern Mongolia. In particular, I demonstrate how senior men, their kin groups, and the ecologies, spiritual and human, that bind them have become central nodes in the territorial operation of governance. This political assemblage has emerged in what I call the balance of “mastery”, a tense, uneven entanglement of landscape and authority. The argument I present combines emerging scholarly interests in political ontologies with analyses of neoliberal governmentality and rural social change. Lastly, I trace the circulation of power, in its various human and non-human guises, through this landscape in ways that demonstrate the productive consequences of unequal agency, including the shifting relations of risk and vulnerability a dynamic ecology of rule. [Keywords: Neoliberalism, environmental governance, political ontologies, pastoralism, Mongolia]