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Martin, Adrian, Akol, Anne and Phillips, Jon (2013) 'Just conservation? On the fairness of sharing benefits.' In: Sikor, Thomas, (ed.), The Justices and Injustices of Ecosystems Services. London: Routledge, pp. 69-91. (Routledge Studies in Ecosystem Services)

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Biodiversity conservation has become a global priority due to the unprecedented rate of species extinction, the associated threat to ecosystem services and the potential consequences for the welfare of current and future people. Addressing this priority has often involved the production of injustices because the costs of conservation typically fall on a small constituency of current local people, whilst the benefits accrue to a large global constituency of both current and future people. An ecosystem services perspective contributes to a particular way of understanding such unfairness, by guiding us to look at the range and value of benefits that flow from ecosystem functions and providing a conceptual basis for fairer sharing of these benefits as well as their associated responsibilities. The sharing of benefits from protected areas is intended to reconcile the tension between the imperative to secure goods for the many and that to protect the entitlements of the few. Benefit sharing seeks to ensure that conservation interventions such as compulsory restrictions on resource harvesting, are accompanied by safeguards that seek to compensate for the inevitable livelihood disruptions to some local people. This chapter asks whether systems to distribute the costs and benefits of protected areas in the tropics provide an effective means of reconciling biodiversity conservation with social justice objectives. This has important implications: if benefit sharing cannot help bring about just conservation outcomes, then we have to think anew about what might constitute ‘fair’ ways to restrict people’s access to resources. We focus here on the example of tourist revenue sharing schemes, a fairly common form of benefit sharing in which local people are compensated for the costs arising from loss of access and the menace of wild animals, or stated more positively, are rewarded for their role in sustaining the landscape and biodiversity services that form the tourism attraction. We should probably also be clear from the outset that we will not be focusing on the Convention on Biological Diversity and its global protocol for Access and Benefit-sharing of Genetic Resources.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
ISBN: 9780415825405
Copyright Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge, available online: Re-use is subject to the publisher’s terms and conditions
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2022 18:11
Funders: Other

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