Conservationism

The 'parks without people' conservation model has its roots in the 19th century U.S.A. It has expanded worldwide and given rise to an elitist conservation industry dominated by big conservation NGOs. This model has become another major threat to the physical and cultural survival of forest-dependent communities, their knowledge and their traditional conservation practises.

Fossil fuels are at the root of the climate chaos – but the conditions for this crisis have been created by the interconnections and dependencies between colonialism, racism, patriarchy and class exploitation. To address climate chaos, therefore, it is necessary to address the unequal relationships of power upon which a fossil-fuel dependent capitalism is based.
The ‘conservation’ model in India continues to enclose forests and evict communities in a deliberate attempt to undermine and scuttle the Forest Rights Act (FRA) - a landmark legislation that strengthens the authority of communities over their forests. Meanwhile, companies are allowed to destroy forests, even inside the conservation areas.
From 24-29 May, 2022, IUCN’s 2nd Asia Parks Congress aims to set the agenda for Protected Areas in Asia for the next ten years. Expanding Protected Areas in Asia also means expanding evictions, violence and further deforestation.
This text comes out of conversations with women from the Ribeira River Valley who have devoted themselves to opposing the concession of one of the region’s most important parks. Their struggle is fundamental, and part of diverse resistances against the privatizing trend of creating ‘territories without people’. They remind us that their territory has been and is rooted in their stories, voices and resistance.
The conservation industry is now promoting the idea of ‘buying up’ Conservation Concessions and reconstituting them as business models with profit-seeking aims. A case in point is the ‘African Parks Network’, which manages 19 National Parks and Protected Areas in 11 countries in Africa.
New publication calls attention to the devastating impacts of Protected Areas in India.

Communities in Nyanga province, Gabon, released the Bana / Mayumba Declaration in which they call for the suspension of the GRANDE MAYUMBA project, a multi-concession megaproject marketing as a so-called Nature-Based Solution.

The statement calls on climate, environmental and social justice movements to unequivocally reject “Nature-Based Solutions” and all offset schemes because they are not designed to address the climate crisis. It remains open for sign-on until the end of 2021.

The Sangha region is entirely under the control of three concessions that have colonial origins and continue to deploy guards against the forest inhabitants to prevent them using their ancestral lands.

They have been living in the Kaeng Krachan forests for generations. When a National Park was created, they started to suffer violence and evictions. 22 people have been prosecuted this year. They could face a jail term of 4 to 20 years.

It is imperative to understand the concept of ‘nature-based solutions,’ to name it for what it is: ‘nature-based dispossessions’, and to expose the real threat it poses to territories.