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Conservation narratives in Peru: envisioning biodiversity in sustainable development

Yves M. Zinngrebe, Department for Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen


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In the mega-diverse country Peru, a resource intensive development model collides with the interest of conserving biodiversity. Peruvian biodiversity experts have developed different lines of argumentation as to how to integrate conservation into the sustainable development of their country.
Applying grounded theory, I define five groups of conservation narratives based on the analysis of 72 qualitative interviews with experts working in areas of biodiversity conservation. I have labeled them: biodiversity protectionists, biodiversity traditionalists, biodiversity localists, biodiversity pragmatists, and biodiversity capitalists. These groups are each discussed in connection with what they have to say about biodiversity in relation to human life, valuation and knowledge systems, participation and leadership, substitutability of natural capital, and its predominant political strategy.
In a second step, a comparative analysis of the dominant and diverging political perspectives is made. I argue that by deconstructing underlying premises and ideologies, common ground and possible opportunities for collaboration can be identified. Moreover, although the presented results can serve as a discussion scaffold to organize conservation debates in Peru, this example demonstrates how the terms biodiversity and sustainability are operationalized in conservation narratives.

Key words

environmental discourses; extractivism; Latin America; natural capital; political ecology; protected areas; sustainability

Copyright © 2016 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087