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					ACES 2011: Conservation Conflicts: strategies
 for coping with a changing world. Aberdeen
         Arts Centre, August 22-25th



The eco politics of managing invasive species: European rabbits and Robben
Island, Western Cape, South Africa : Brian Reilly
Robben Island holds a very significant place in the National psyche in South Africa
due to its association with recent political history. It has become an ecotourist haven
and as with many islands its ecology has been severely disturbed by the introduction
of exotic fauna and flora. Its classification as a world heritage site, with the
commensurate regulations on the removal of exotic species has seen its elevation to
the political football in the struggle between preservation and conservation in the
tabloid press and emotional outbursts with reference to removal of exotic fauna.
Rabbits were introduced to Robben Island by passing sailors in the seventeenth
century and today together with other alien fauna and flora pose a serious threat to
the unique vegetation and associated fauna (particularly marine avifauna) of the
island. European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are considered alongside the ship
rat (Rattus rattus), feral pig and cane toad to be amongst the biggest threats to
environments where they have been introduced. Foremost amongst these examples
was that of their introduction to Australia in the mid nineteenth century and
subsequent efforts at their eradication.

Wildlife Management in South Africa: Future challenges : Brian Reilly
South Africa with its enormous diversity of plants, animals, charismatic megafauna as
well as the fossil remains of the progenitors of modern man are of international
importance to the conservation community. The ancient savannah biomes present a
uniquely challenging prospect for ecological management and protected areas such
as the iconic Kruger National Park apply some of the most modern adaptive
management processes to this challenge. This given that South Africa itself is the 3rd
most diverse country on the planet with 10% of the global plant, fish and bird diversity
and 6% of the mammal and reptile diversity on less than 1% of the surface area. The
grassland biome of South Africa is under enormous pressure from mining,
agriculture, forestry and water abstraction whilst the unique Cape “fynbos” with the
plethora of endemic species faces increasing challenges. Conservation and wildlife
management take place against a neighbouring political backdrop of corruption,
nepotism and paranoia ranging from the poorest economies such as Mozambique to
a failed Zimbabwe, stable Botswana and Namibia and South Africa with its unique
post apartheid challenges.

Human-jaguar conflict in northeaster Mexico: analysis of economic losses,
peoples’ perceptions and knowledge of the species and construction of
conservation strategies: J Pena-Mondragon & A Castillo-Alvarez
Mexico is a mega diverse country harboring an amazing number of plant and animal
species. Among carnivores, jaguars are the largest cat in the American continent and
a species highly valued by ancient and present indigenous cultures. It is a species
very much studied in southern Mexico but studies of northern Mexico are scarce.
Most studies also contribute to understanding the biology and ecology of jaguar’s
populations. However, interdisciplinary analyses that consider the complex social
factors involved in jaguar conservation are uncommon. In this context, the present
research aims at generating scientific information on economic losses caused by
jaguars in two municipalities of the Sierra Plegada in north-eastern Mexico.
Documenting rural people as well as governmental authorities at the local, state and
federal levels is also a central objective of the project. As in other areas of the
continent, jaguars survival is threaten by decrease in its natural habitats due to land
use changes (in Mexico the area has been reduced by over 70% of its historic range)
and by activities such as hunting, either as a way to supplement rural peoples’
income (poaching) or because it kills domestic animals such as cattle. The study was
carried out from 2009 to 2011. We interviewed 80 people of 50 rural communities
and 6 governmental officers. For estimating economic losses and documenting
peoples’ knowledge of the species, we conducted a survey (with open and closed-
ended questions). Semi-structured interviews were also used to gather information
about perceptions of the species and its conservation problems and challenges. The
survey was analyzed through descriptive statistics. Results show that between 1992
and present time 2007 killing events were registered by interviewees. Economic
losses were estimated in US$41 981.00. Regarding peoples’ perceptions and
knowledge, it was found that most interviewees see jaguar as a dangerous and non-
beneficial animal. In this part of Mexico jaguars are not part of a cultural history and
identity. Results show also that rural and governmental authorities do not know the
biology of the species and the understanding of its ecological role is poor. In order to
construct solutions for ranchers in terms of diminishing jaguar’s killings on cattle and
to raise awareness about jaguar long term maintenance, workshops have been
organized in rural communities in the two municipalities. Only through collective
participation and negotiations among different stakeholders would be possible to
construct alternative ways of managing environmental conflicts.

Hidden degú, crouching human: Making unseen nature visible to conservation
in Chile. : Meredith Root-Bernstein
The Central Zone of Chile is characterized by a mediterranean climate, high species
endemicity and biodiversity, urban overdevelopment, and the smallest number of
national parks of any part of the country. The typical landscape of the central zone,
although the most familiar to most Chileans, is least liked, and people are more likely
to recognise introduced European species than native ones. Nature in the Central
Zone is ignored in public discourse and unobserved by the city-dwelling, policy-
making classes. During ethnographic surveys and participant observation I asked
how unseen nature-- hidden rodents, the unnoticed greenness of hills in winter, the
intimate beauty of chaparral biodiversity-- are experienced and discovered by
Chileans. I interviewed residents of Santiago who had grown up in the countryside,
moved to the rural suburbs, or who vacationed in summer houses in the Central
Zone. I also interviewed and spent time with ecologists, conservationists, and nature
lovers. All of these groups had different ways of interacting with nature, some of
which resulted in ignoring the landscape and its species, and others which enacted
an intimate attention to them. I discuss how the ‘empty landscapes’ and ‘nameless
inhabitants’ of the Central Zone could be given a greater profile in the Chilean
context. In order for a conflict to occur between conservation and development, not
to mention a compromise, nature must be noticed and experienced.

Conservation conflicts in Koala management in Framlingham Forest, Victoria,
Australia : Robert Wallis
The Koala is an iconic, charismatic marsupial species indigenous to eastern
Australia. Its conservation status varies considerably across Australia, from
vulnerable in Queensland and NSW where its numbers and distribution have
declined markedly, to secure in Victoria where it regularly over-browses its food
sources and must be managed. 30 Koalas were introduced into Framlingham
Forest, in south-western Victoria, in 1971. Koalas are not thought to have previously
existed in this forest. Their numbers grew exponentially till few of its preferred food
trees (Manna Gums) were left alive. Over 1000 animals were captured in 1998/99,
the males sterilised and all translocated to other sites in Victoria. In 2007 a fire was
deliberately lit in the forest that killed many Koalas. Over 200 badly burned and
injured Koalas were rescued by wildlife carers.

Human-Wildlife Conflict Toolkit: A comprehensive solutions for farmers and
local communities in Africa : Sebestian le Bel
Human-wildlife conflict is a growing global problem. It is not restricted to a particular
geographical region or climate condition, but is common to all areas where wildlife
and human populations coexist and share limited resources. Human-wildlife conflict
is a problem for farmers, and ultimately it must be tackled by the farmers themselves.
However, although numerous research articles, reports, recommendations,
guidelines and training manuals have been produced in recent years to address the
problem, most have been aimed at technical support agencies, government wildlife
departments, and conservation and/or development oriented non-governmental
organizations. Few tools have been developed for and adopted by rural farmers and
communities to help them to address human wildlife conflicts at grass roots level. In
Southern Africa, FAO and Bio-Hub have teamed up to develop a handy toolkit
designed for use by extensionists offering to local communities a range of simple and
practical solutions that can have great success when used in combination. It is
designed not only to help protect people, their livestock and their crops from wild
animals but, just as important, to safeguard wild animals from people. Two types of
toolkit, an electronic and a hard version, are available in three languages: English,
Portuguese and French. The hard version is a rubber canvas bag containing a series
of water proof booklets, helping users to define which kind of conflict they are facing.
Solutions vary according to whether the need is to protect people, villages, livestock,
water or crops and are classified in five colour-coded categories: awareness raising
in blue, access prevention in green, translocation in brown, driving animals away in
yellow and as a last resort lethal control in red. A system of index identifies solutions
in each of the five colour categories according to what it is the user needs to protect.
In total, more than one thousand toolkits were distributed during the workshops for
field tests with local communities in Botswana, Gabon, Malawi, Mozambique, South
Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The toolkit is designed in a way that more information
can be added or slotted in and this exercise is an own going one, meaning for the
next years to come, funding permitting, the toolkit will be reviewed and added with
more information.

Reform or reversal : the implications of post 2013 CAP proposals for Redd in
Latin America : Kaysara Khatun and Elena Ojea
In the European Union (EU), the CAP has an ambivalent legacy, in that the EU
economy is distorted in favour of agricultural production and this has had the direct
impact of causing a reduction on a broader scale on sectors such as fisheries and
forestry in and outside the EU. Most of the distortions external to the EU are caused
by tariffs associated with the CAP and not by its subsidies (Costa et al. 2009). One of
the most severe extra-European effects are in Latin America, and hence the focus of
this paper; resulting in a welfare decrease in the region of €4.4 billion with the price
movements inducing some of the largest contractions in the livestock sectors, whose
output is depressed by 12.7% . The largest contributor to this welfare loss is the
border protection component of the CAP (Costa et al. 2009). On the other hand, the
absence of tariffs for importation has evolved to a situation where EU farmers
cheaply import animal feed from Latin America, including soy beans that are amongst
the main cause for deforestation in the Amazon (Soares-Filho et al., 2006). There
exists a huge potential for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest
Degradation (REDD and REDD+) in Latin America, however to realize this potential,
there is a need to create an environment that promotes low-risk carbon emissions
reduction opportunities. These mechanisms can also deliver multiple benefits, in
addition to mitigating climate change, REDD/REDD+ can support livelihoods,
maintain vital ecosystem services, and preserve globally significant biodiversity
(CBD, 2009). The conditions under which REDD/ REDD+ are likely to succeed are
still very much in the evolving phase.

Crop raiding patterns by male and female elephant groups in the Amboseli
Ecosystem : Winnie Kiiru and Bob Smith
Crop raiding is one of the most widespread forms of human-elephant conflict and
previous studies have shown that male elephants are more likely to raid crops than
females because they are more willing to take risks. This study, conducted in the
Loitokitok farmlands near Amboseli National Park in South East Kenya, recorded
elephant crop raiding activity over a period of two years. The crop raiding elephants
in this study were carefully observed to establish the sex composition of the
groups. The study established that both male and female elephants raided crops at
night, with slight variations in their circadian patterns. The seasonal distribution of
raids also varied between the two groups, as males were present on the farms all
year round while female raids were recorded during the main cropping season. The
study also found that male elephants were responsible for more crop raiding
incidents than females. However, females spent more ‘elephant hours’ in the farms
as the groups were larger and they were ultimately responsible for a higher
percentage of the total area damaged than males. The type of crop grown, the size
of the crop raiding group and the duration of the raid were the most important
determinants of the severity of the raids. The spatial distribution of crop raiding
events was also influenced by group composition with some areas being
predominantly visited by female groups. This study proposes that female groups can
be as important in crop raiding as males and so conflict mitigation strategies should
account for the behaviour of both sexes.

Food base of hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) across Ethiopia entirely anthropogenic
: Gidey Yirga, Hans Bauer and Jozef Deckers
Livestock depredation by spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) is anecdotally known to
occur widely across Ethiopia; we have previously published on hyena diet in one
small area showing an absence of natural prey. Here we report on an extensive
survey of depredation in 14 areas across the country, in four regional states. We
quantified the economic impact of spotted hyena predation on livestock using semi
structure interview with 3,080 randomly selected households. Respondents indicated
a total loss of 2,230 domestic animals to hyena predation over the past five years. On
average, hyena depredation claimed 5.3% of range stock. This depredation
represented an estimated financial loss of about US$ 157,474 or a mean annual
mean damage of US$ 31,497. The diet of hyenas was assessed by scat analysis and
showed only prey items of domestic origin; frequencies of prey remains of cattle,
donkey, goat and sheep were highest, in decreasing order. Some hairs in scat
originate from depredation, but most food intake is from waste dumps and
slaughterhouses. Survival of hyenas in Ethiopia is thus largely and widely dependent
on conflict and waste management. Efficient livestock management practices should
be practiced by the local communities for mitigation of livestock predation and looking
for options that might benefit local communities is important to enhance tolerance for

The spatial distribution of forest in an agriculturally-dominated flat, fertile
region (Denmark). Geophysical explanatory variables : Mette Vestergaard
Odgaard, Tommy Dalgaard, Peder Klith Bøcher and Jens-Christian Svenning
Nature areas tend to be biased towards areas with high altitudes, steep slopes,
infertile soils, and far from human activity. This indicates that these areas are
deliberately located at remote areas not suitable for agriculture and urbanization, and
they could play an important role as refugia for the global biodiversity. The
remoteness of nature areas has been thoroughly investigated at mountainous
regions but it is unclear to what extent geophysical variables constrain the distribution
of forest in less mountainous regions. For a small, fertile, and topographical
relatively homogenous region (Denmark) it is assessed to what extent, if at all, nature
areas exemplified with forest is determined by geophysical variables (described by
relative extremes of elevation, slope, roughness, wetness index, and clay percentage
in the soil). For preliminary analysis, each variable was divided into categorical zones
and within each zone the forest area compared to total land area was calculated.
Linear regression analyses were made for all categorized variables and the forest
cover. Furthermore it was assessed at which analytic cell size slope gave the highest
explanatory power on the spatial location of forest. The preliminary results indicate a
significant positive effect of elevation, slope, and clay. Furthermore there was a
decrease in the explanatory power of slope with increase in cell size. Therefore, for a
topographical relatively homogenous region the location of forest shows a remote

The disturbance of capercaillie by people in Speyside, Scotland : Fiona Leckie,
Robert Moss, Amanda Biggins, Tim Poole, Kenny Kortland and Sorrel Jones
The woodlands of Speyside are used by wildlife and, increasingly, by people for
recreation and housing. Most of the capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) remaining in
Scotland are in Speyside and the Cairngorms National Park, but it is thought that
disturbance by people and their dogs reduces the birds’ living space. The evidence,
however, is mostly anecdotal. Studying the distribution of capercaillie and people by
direct observation is time-consuming and expensive. This study is using the
distribution of capercaillie droppings to indicate their use of woodland, along with
tracks and woodland entrances as surrogates for disturbance. The results should be
used to inform the zoning of woodlands for housing, recreation or capercaillie living
Three woods on Speyside known to contain populations of capercaillie and used for
recreation by people were chosen. In subjective order of disturbance these were:
Anagach Woods (by Grantown on Spey), Boat of Garten Wood, and Glenmore
Forest Park. The distribution of capercaillie droppings was mapped by surveyors
walking parallel transects 100 m apart. Tracks were mapped using a GPS, classed
according to subjective use categories, and entered into a GIS. Use categories
depended upon a track’s physical characteristics and local knowledge.

From conflict to cooperation in the Polish National Parks and their
neighbourhood in a views of different stakeholders – a long way ahead? :
Joanna Olko, Magdalena Hędrzak, Joanna Cent and Alicja Subel
National parks together with the other forms of protected areas are very important in
species and landscape preservation. They have a national importance and
recognition, and even what is more important, so called ‘national ownership’. This
has been used both as an argument and counterargument for their protection. In the
national parks, the national reasons and needs are crossing with the regional and the
local ones. Regardless of their environmental goals, their existence influences not
only wildlife, but also the people who live and work in the adjacent areas. On the one
hand, implementation of nature protection regulations may restrict peoples’ activity, in
accordance with conservational goals. On the other hand, national parks can be used
for promotion of the region or in other indirect way contribute to the well-being of local
citizens. In this way, national parks are the common ground that connects many
groups: local communities, local governments, hunters, foresters and national park
employees. They live, use and manage the same or neighbouring land. Current
relations between national parks and groups of relevant stakeholders are, among
other factors, results of 1) interests of actors, that potentially might be in conflict, 2)
activities improving understanding and cooperation, undertaken by any of the actors,
3) historical and political background influencing contemporary relations. The goal of
this paper is to assess current relations between stakeholder and listed condition that
improve or hinder good cooperation in two chosen case studies. The special focus
was given to the third factor, which proven to be especially important during the

Tourism and ecosystem services in the Jalisco coast, Mexico: from conflicts to
catastrophes? : Alicia Castillo, Lucia Martínez, Marion Rienshe and Adriana
Mexico is number one destination for foreign tourists within the Latin America region
and number two in the American continent. Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific coast in
the state of Jalisco, is second place in the country. This coast has beautiful beaches
and landscapes. Apart from Puerto Vallarta, the rest of the coast has had a slow
tourism development although it has been seen for decades as an activity that could
bring economic benefits. In the Costa Alegre area which was given this name in 1962
as a way to promote tourism development, at present there is an offer that includes
92 private houses and mansions, 8 great class hotels (owned and visited mainly by
wealthy and foreign people), one five stars hotel, seven three stars hotels and 25
economic lodging houses. Prices for mansions at sale in this coast range from five to
twenty million US dollars. Most of these units had been built in the last 40 years and
total number of rooms has been estimated in less than one thousand. However, new
resorts are now proposed, most based on a massive tourism model. These projects
include the construction of three times more the present number of hotel rooms, golf
courts, artificial lakes, beach clubs and a pier for more than 150 yachts. On the other
hand, natural ecosystems in this area include numerous rivers with mangroves in
estuaries and tropical dry forests. These forests are rich in biodiversity and present
high numbers of endemic species. In 1993, the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere
Reserve was decreed to protect 13,142 hectares. Most lands, nevertheless, belong
to peasant communities and their lands present also good forest cover. The aim of
this presentation is to show how the tourism industry is based on ecosystem services
provided by peasants’ lands and the protected area and how the industry benefits
from them causing conflicts among stakeholders and without paying back any
economic reward to those whose lands provide the services. Water for example is
the main limiting factor for ecosystem functioning as well as for human activities and
while in the tourist areas, scenes include swimming pools and all year green lawns;
for local inhabitants and peasants the service is scarce and people pay high costs for
it. If tourism is to follow a massive model in this region conflicts will increase opening
also the possibilities for ecological and social catastrophes in the near future.

Towards an understanding of the relevant factors determining the behaviour of
communities in or adjacent to protected areas: Aderjan Botha
Throughout the world, and especially Africa, negative and intrusive behaviour of
communities is arguably the greatest threat to conservation of wildlife and protected
areas. The conservation status of protected areas depends, apart from
environmental factors, such as climatic conditions, largely on sound management.
Protected area management includes not only the management of natural resources
but also the actions or behaviour of neighbouring communities. The management of
conflicts amongst the various stakeholders forms an integral part of protected area
management. Many programmes directed at neighbouring communities
(developmental, law enforcement or anti-poaching and even education or extension)
seem to be ineffective as undesirable and illegal behaviour seems to continue
unabated throughout the world. The conservation status of wildlife and protected
areas appears to be largely dependent on the conservation and or utilization
behaviour (human actions – legal or illegal) of people within or adjacent to protected
areas and the buffer zones where applicable. This behaviour of people can in turn be
directly attributed to the adoption of conservation or sustainable utilization practices.
To resolve negative human behaviour as the problem, fundamental root causes have
to be investigated by means of scientific situation analysis. The proposed
methodology to identify the relevant casual factors is based on, and supported by
research data of a number of projects in south and east Africa. This paper examines
the identification of the relevant or mediating variables (needs, perceptions and
knowledge of target groups) in a situation analysis as a step in planning programs or
strategies of change, and is based on the relationship between behaviour (practice
adoption) and behaviour consequences (conservation status). Mediating variables as
determinants or precursors of behaviour should be considered as they provide direct
access to behavioural change. Against this background, a way of incorporating these
variables as psychic field forces in communication strategies is suggested as a
means of addressing the negative forces (constraints) that are associated with the
non-adoption of messages concerning wildlife protection.

Ecotourists’ experiences in protected areas in Southern Africa – why conflict?
: Nellie de Crom
Although many of South Africa’s national parks and nature reserves are by world
standards, well-managed, there is extensive evidence of visitor pressure. This may
lead to stressful situations which have the potential to negatively affect a nature
experience, implying conflict between people and the specific site. Consequently
people will eventually avoid such places. For this study in-depth interviews and
questionnaires were used to gather information which was analised using open
content analysis. Study participants consist of visitors to national parks and nature
reserves in South Africa. Results show that the nature experience of visitors to these
areas can be influenced by both internal and external factors. External influences
are mainly caused by other human beings, directly or indirectly, and are seldom seen
as positive. Factors that influence a nature experience in a positive way usually
originate within a person him/herself (e.g. appreciation of a landscape, using senses
in a nature setting and connecting with nature in a spiritual sense, amongst others),
while external factors often degrade a nature experience (e.g. crowding, litter, noise
and poor service.). Litter, including visual pollution, was singled out as the greatest
source of disturbance in all natural areas. This is followed by the inconsiderate
behaviour of co-visitors. Many study participants felt strongly about damage done to
the natural environment as well as westernised influences on indigenous
cultures. Mining activities, agricultural practices and trade in indigenous plants and
animals, and other objects from nature, play a prominent role. Surveys have shown
that visitors to natural areas prefer minimal development and are disappointed by
visual intrusions, noise and crowding. Depending on the attitude of the individual, the
nature of the destination visited, the purpose of the visit as well as other aspects,
disturbances vary in importance and intensity. A better understanding of what
causes a nature experience to be perceived as negative can help managers, tour
guides, developers and individuals to reduce the frequency and intensity of these
disturbances. In the process the visitor’s experience will be enhanced and an overall
improved satisfaction rating will be achieved, implying that they will return to the
specific or similar destinations.

Laura Kubasiewicz 'The pine marten - conserving a predator'
The pine marten suffered heavy persecution in Scotland during the early 20th century,
restricting its range to a few relict populations in the North West highlands. Several
factors (e.g. legal protection and increase in woodland area) have, however, helped
its return to parts of its former range. Recent work in a semi-natural plantation has
shown that, although seen as forest specialists, a level of forest fragmentation within
the pine marten home range is beneficial as it provides habitat for their main prey,
the field vole. Accurate population estimates from forests with varying degrees of
fragmentation are, however, lacking. To assess pine marten population trends,
surveys have traditionally involved counting scat; this method suffers several
drawbacks e.g. individual heterogeneity and seasonal variation in diet can have a
strong effect on scat production. Recent developments in non-invasive genotyping
may provide a valuable solution. In this study, a mark-recapture method of population
density estimation is planned for four forests, including Abernethy NNR, using scat
and hair individual genotypes. This method will shed some much needed light on the
status of pine marten within Scotland, the effects of current forest management
regimes on their density and dispersal and advise these regimes for future species

Evangelia Apostolopoulou and John Pantis
The growing establishment of protected areas incorporating profitable economic
activity and conservation initiatives has made the emergence of conflicts around
them integral to conservation practice worldwide. Over the last two decades the
participation of “civil society” in protected areas governance under the mutual goal of
sustainable development has become increasingly key to resolving natural resource
conflicts. Schinias Greek Natura site, simultaneously national park and Olympic
canoeing centre, provides a case study to investigate the roots and outcomes of
natural resource conflicts within the context of coexistent of development and
conservation agendas and collaborative governance. Schinias, the last wetland
within the capital, is a characteristic case of a Greek protected area predicated on the
idea of integrating development plans for the Olympic Games of 2004 in Athens with
conservation of a Natura 2000 site. The Greek state presented Schinias as a
“groundbreaking project” combining environmentally friendly development with
benefits for local residents and the restoration of a degraded wetland, making
Schinias the keystone project for achieving a “Green” Olympics. Schinias was also
the second protected area selected for an institutional shift towards collaborative
governance in implementing the Habitats Directive.
Following a grounded theory approach and drawing on insights from the fields of
political ecology and environmental governance as well as from research on social-
ecological systems has enabled us to reveal the political, socio-economic and
conservation conflicts arising during implementation of state development and
conservation policies. It appears that governmental political handling exacerbated
these conflicts leading to political manipulation to justify policy failure and promote
nature privatization. Simultaneously, state policies collude with powerful interests,
progressively excluding and blaming less powerful locals and exploiting the
environment, under the guise of promoting conservation, sustainability, and
collaboration. We conclude that conflict resolution compatible with nature protection
and social justice cannot occur in isolation from resolving crucial socio-economic
problems, strengthening transparency and accurately analysing the dynamics of local


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