Case Study: Can the needs for environmental protection and biodiversity and the needs of indigenous people be reconciled?

Summary

This case study jigsaw approach with a is based on the article A Challenge to Conservationists by Mac Chapin. The case study discusses the tensions between preserving land for biodiversity health and preserving lands for the needs of the indigenous peoples. It discusses how non profit conservation and preservation organizations like World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Conservation International (CI), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) are trying to make wildlife refuges and land preservations sites but do not take into account the needs, concerns, and rights of the indigenous people living there. Some indigenious peoples have had to move and some traditional activities have been deemed illegal and consequently have been prosecuted. Conservationists have been reluctant to support indigenous peoples in their struggle against oil, mining and logging companies that are destroying vast swaths of rainforest throughout the world. This case study is based on doing research to find common ground for the Indigenous people and for the conservationists.

Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications

Learning Goals

The goal of any activity should be to have the students engage in some type of thought or discussion about how to resolve issues and conflicts they find between the different perspectives.

A jigsaw approach would divide the class into three jigsaw groups. Each group will do library and Web research regarding their topic. One will investigate the scientific basis of biodiversity preservation. Another will investigate the role that international conservation organizations like the World Wildlife Fund play in trying to broker biodiversity preservation. The third will investigate what indigenous people's groups have to say about biodiversity preservation and the role they play, or don't play, in the decision making process. Other groupings are possible, for example, one might be the use and current status of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) programs and the displacement of indigenous peoples. The assigned tasks for each group can vary according to the depth of engagement the instructor wishes to foster. At the very minimum, it is probably advisable to have each group responsible for finding at least ten credible sources from the library, or on the Web, from which they have to make a synthesis summary to present to the other groups. At some future date (several days, or maybe a week, in the future) the groups will get back together and share what they've learned

Context for Use

See Teaching Notes.

Description and Teaching Materials

Teaching Notes and Tips

This is an open-ended case that can be used in many different ways in the classroom. The most obvious is to use a jigsaw structure – students work on different aspects of an issue, and then try to join their individual pieces to make a more coherent picture of the whole.

A jigsaw approach would divide the class into three jigsaw groups. Each group will do library and Web research regarding their topic. One will investigate the scientific basis of biodiversity preservation. Another will investigate the role that international conservation organizations like the World Wildlife Fund play in trying to broker biodiversity preservation. The third will investigate what indigenous people's groups have to say about biodiversity preservation and the role they play, or don't play, in the decision making process. Other groupings are possible, for example, one might be the use and current status of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) programs and the displacement of indigenous peoples. The assigned tasks for each group can vary according to the depth of engagement the instructor wishes to foster. At the very minimum, it is probably advisable to have each group responsible for finding at least ten credible sources from the library, or on the Web, from which they have to make a synthesis summary to present to the other groups. At some future date (several days, or maybe a week, in the future) the groups will get back together and share what they've learned.

In the process of researching information and preparing to share it, the groups should keep in mind questions like these listed below:

1. What is biodiversity, and why is it important to pay attention to it today? Who defines biodiversity? How is it measured? Who or what are the major threats to biodiversity?

2. What are some of the motives of the groups that are trying to protect biodiversity and various threatened species?

3. What are the primary issues facing indigenous peoples living in areas that conservation organizations are trying to preserve?

4. Chapin emphasizes that indigenous peoples are adept at making a living off of the land without destroying the resources the resource base for their society. Give several examples from the reading and your own research.

5. Contrast our examples in #4 with our own society that imports materials from all over the world (often from areas in which indigenous peoples live).

6. What assumptions about indigenous peoples do you see in the Indigenous Peoples and Conservation: WWF Statement of Principles? What assumptions about wildlife, biodiversity, and ecosystem health do you see in the same statement?

7. Chapin outlines different agendas that he thinks most indigenous peoples have and that most conservation groups have. What do these agendas have in common? In what ways might indigenous peoples and international conservation organizations collaborate for mutual benefit?

8. Are there parallels between the threats to biodiversity and the threats to cultural survival of indigenous peoples? Explain your reasoning.

I have found it useful to insist on a group-written annotated bibliography from each of the groups, which I then concatenate for the entire class. It would probably be useful to have each group make a presentation of their findings to the entire class.

At this point the instructor might ask the students to write a position paper based upon the classroom presentations, or perhaps a discussion or a debate might take place in the classroom. The goal of any activity should be to have the students engage in some type of thought or discussion about how to resolve issues and conflicts they find between the different perspectives. There is a lot of latitude here for the instructor to take the research work the students have done and move it in multiple directions.

At each step of the way, I would urge that the students be asked to be aware of the implicit values held by those they are researching, of the kinds, types and credibility of 'evidence' the students are assembling, of the motives the those being researched, and of the biases of those being researched, as well as biases of the students themselves. Being aware of these things can help foster constructive conversation between groups that might disagree strongly.

A few useful sources for each of the groups are listed below, but this list is by no means exhaustive. A usefulness of this case is to have the students develop a much richer annotated bibliography.

Scientific Basis of Biodiversity Preservation

Suzuki, David,Biodiversity , David Suzuki Foundation website:
https://davidsuzuki.org/our-work/biodiversity/ (accessed 1/30/2013)

Convention of Biological Diversity, Why is biodiversity important for development? Convention of Biological Diversity UNEP website: http://www.cbd.int/development/about/important.shtml (accessed 1/30/2013)

Nilsson, Gretta, 1983 & 2005, Vanishing Species:Biodiversity Preservation, Endangered Species Handbook, Animal Welfare Institute, 1983 & 2005http://www.endangeredspecieshandbook.org/pdfslive/esh_4-74.pdf (accessed 1/30/2013)

GreenFacts editorial team, 2005,Scientific Facts on Biodiversity & Human Well-Being , 2005, GreenFacts website:

http://www.greenfacts.org/en/biodiversity/biodiversity-greenfacts.pdf (accessed 1/30/2013)

Views of Indigenous People's Groups

Toledo, Victor M., 2003,The Multiple Use of Tropical Forests by Indigenous Peoples in Mexico: a Case of Adaptive Management , Conservation Ecology 7(3):9

https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol7/iss3/art9/ (accessed 1/30/2013)

Colchester, Marcus, 2003, Salvaging Nature: Indigenous Peoples, Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation, World Rainforest Movement, (available in pdf format at:

http://www.wrm.org.uy/subjects/PA/texten.pdf accessed 1/30/2013)

Global Environmental Facility, 2008, Indigenous Communities and Biodiversity, (available in pdf format at: https://www.thegef.org/sites/default/files/publications/indigenous-community-biodiversity_0.pdf accessed 1/30/2013)

Global Environmental Facility, 2009, A New Climate for Froests, (available in pdf format at: https://www.thegef.org/sites/default/files/publications/forestry_3.pdf

Sobrevila, Claudia, 2008, The role of Indigenous Peoples in Biodiversity Conservation: The Natural, but Often Forgotten Partners, The World Bank, (available in pdf format at:

http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTBIODIVERSITY/Resources/RoleofIndigenousPeoplesinBiodiversityConservation.pdf accessed 1/30/2013)

International Conservation-Related Organizations

International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 2009, Applying a Right-Based Approach to Indigenous Peoples in Conservation, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, (available in pdf format at:

http://web.archive.org/web/20150910033450/http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/iucn_statement_unpfii_item3_a__rba_19may09.pdf accessed 1/30/2013)

WWF International 2008. Indigenous Peoples and Conservation: WWF Statement of Principles, Gland, Switzerland: WWF International (available in pdf format at:

http://worldwildlife.org/publications/wwf-statement-of-principles-on-indigenous-peoples-and-conservation accessed: 1/30/2013)

Sobrevila, Claudia, 2008, The role of Indigenous Peoples in Biodiversity Conservation: The Natural, but Often Forgotten Partners, The World Bank, (available in pdf format at: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTBIODIVERSITY/Resources/RoleofIndigenousPeoplesinBiodiversityConservation.pdf accessed 1/30/2013)

UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2009, State of the World's Indigenous Peoples ST/ESA/328, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, (available in pdf format at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/SOWIP/en/SOWIP_web.pdf accessed 6/23/2017)

The Nature Conservancy, 2013, Our Values: The Nature Conservancy's Values, The Nature Conservancy (available in html format at:http://www.nature.org/about-us/vision-mission/values/index.htm accessed 1/30/2013)

The Nature Conservancy, 2013, People and Conservation, The Nature Conservancy (available in html format at: https://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/urgentissues/land-conservation/peopleandconservation/index.htm accessed 6/23/2017)

The Nature Conservancy, 2013, Rain Forests, The Nature Conservancy (available in html format at: https://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/habitats/rainforests/index.htm accessed 6/23/2017)

The Nature Conservancy, 2006, Guatamala $24 million in debt now slated for conservation, The Nature Conservancy (available in html format at:

http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/centralamerica/guatemala/guatemala-debt-for-nature-swap-is-a-win-for-tropical-forest-conservation.xml accessed 1/30/2013)

Assessment

Assessment is at the discretion of the the educator and how this case study is used.

References and Resources

There are thousands of fine resources available regarding biodiversity preservation and conflicts with indigenous peoples. It is a vast set of topics. The following very short list was used by the author in writing this particular case:

<a>Colchester, Marcus</a>, 2004, Conservation Policy and Indigenous Peoples, Cultural Survival Quarterly, 28(1), 2004, p.17.

<a>MacKay, Fergus</a>, <a>Caruso, Emily</a>, 2004, Indigenous Lands Or National Parks?, Cultural Survival Quarterly, 28(1), 2004, p.14.

Metrick, Andrew and Weitzman, Martin L., 1998, Conflicts and Choices in Biodiversity Preservation, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 12(3), 1998, p. 21.

<a>Lasimbang, Jannie</a>, 2004, National Parks and Indigenous Peoples of Asia; Indigenous Resource Management Principles in Protected Areas, Cultural Survival Quarterly, 28(1), 2004, p.53.

<a>Redford, Kent H.</a>, 1991, The Ecologically Noble Savage, Cultural Survival Quarterly, 15(1), 1991, p. 46.

UN-REDD Programme Fund, United Nations Development Group, program website: http://www.un-redd.org/media-resources (accessed 04/14/17)

UN-REDD Programme, 2009, UN-REDD Programme: Engagement of indigenous peoples and civil society, (available in html format at: https://www.cbd.int/forest/doc/un-redd-newsletter-vol-4-en.doc, accessed 1/30/2013).

Barnsley, Ingrid, 2008, Reducing Emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries: A guide for indigenous peoples, United Nations University – Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), (available in pdf format at: http://www.ias.unu.edu/resource_centre/REDDPocketGuide_web.pdf , accessed 1/30/2013).

Bretton Woods Project, 2009, REDD and the rights of indigenous peoples, (available in html format at: http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/art-564322 , accessed 1/30/2013).

International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 2009, Reducing Emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in developing countries, (available at: cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/iucn_position_paper_redd_june_09_3.pdf, accessed 1/30/2013).

Citation

(2013). Case: Can the needs for environmental protection and biodiversity and the needs of indigenous people be reconciled?. http://www.camelclimatechange.org/view/casestudy/51cbfb247896bb431f6becd6