19 July 2010

A PLACE FOR EVERYONE


CONSERVATION AT THE CROSSROADS

Science, Society, and the Future of India's Wildlife



Ghazala Shahabuddin


India faces an ecological crisis of crippling proportions. The overexploitation of the country’s forests and wetlands is eating away at vital ecological processes. Rapid and unplanned economic development threatens to fragment and devour what little wildlife habitat survives. Plant and animal species are joining the ranks of the critically endangered faster than ever before.

India’s dominant conservation paradigm is one of control and exclusion, where animals and ecosystems are sought to be protected by guns, guards, fences. This book argues that environmental justice and improved governance have to be as much a part of the conservation agenda as sound ecological science and practice. It surveys alternative approaches to conservation which attempt to reconcile social equity with biodiversity goals.

Using the Sariska Tiger Reserve as an anchor, the author analyses the historical, socio-political, and biological contexts of nature conservation in the country in an effort to identify the causes of India’s ecological crisis. She provides detailed data to demonstrate that a broad-based participatory approach to conservation is necessary if we are to see India’s extraordinary wildlife survive into the next century.

The product of years of travel and research in remote places, this book combines rigour, logic, and passion. It will alert every reader to the danger that the wildlife and ecosystems we hope to preserve may have been ravaged beyond repair by the time we accept the need for change in our conservation strategies.

GHAZALA SHAHABUDDIN is Associate Professor, School of Human Ecology, B.R. Ambedkar University, Delhi. After her PhD in conservation biology from Duke University in 1998, she has worked and published extensively on habitat fragmentation, sustainable forest management, the human impact on biodiversity, and conservation-induced displacement.

Hardback / 254 pp / Rs 595 / ISBN 81-7824-264-8 / World rights / 2010

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