By Joern Fischer
Over at Conservation Bytes, there’s an interesting blog entry on the role of conservation in developing countries. Specifically, the entry points to a recent paper in Biotropica, which is currently freely available here.
The paper by Erik Meijaard and Douglas Sheil makes a really important point, suggesting that it is important to understand multiple sides of environmental problems, to avoid polarized debates. I couldn’t agree more, and many entries in our blog here reflect similar reasoning – including for example entries on broadening our beam of compassion or thinking about the trade-offs between conservation and poverty. We have also touched on the bottom line of all this: a need for transdisciplinary research that engages local people and other stakeholders; and we have addressed the importance of how a given conservation problem is framed.
Personally, I greatly welcome contributions like those by Erik Meijaard and Douglas Sheil: in an academic context, it’s more difficult and less rewarding, at this stage, to work on real-world problems rather than engage in polarized academic debates. But it’s only if we move beyond polarized debates that we will achieve real conservation progress.