Peace Parks and jaguar trails: transboundary conservation in a globalizing world
An increasingly utilized strategy for expanding conservation in the developing world has been the promotion of protected areas that supersede national borders. Alternatively known as transfrontier biosphere reserves, transfrontier or transboundary conservation areas, or Peace Parks, these protected areas are aggressively advanced by conservation agencies for their purported ecological and economic benefits. This article provides a comparative assessment of two case studies to understand the various impacts of transboundary conservation. The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which unites protected areas in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, is contrasted with efforts to protect jaguars along the United States–Mexico border. We argue that while these cases are promising for the purposes of biodiversity protection, they demonstrate that transboundary conservation can minimize political context, contributes to the hegemony of international conservation agendas, and remains closely linked to economic neoliberalism and decentralization in the developing world.
KeywordsConservation Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park Peace Park South Africa Transboundary conservation Transfrontier conservation U.S.–Mexico border
Research completed by the first author in South Africa was generously supported by the Institute for the study of World Politics, the Association of American Geographers, and the University of Texas Special Research Grant. The second author received research support from the Social Sciences Research Council, the University of Texas College of Liberal Arts U.S.-Mexico Borderlands Research Award, and the Robert E. Veselka Endowed Fellowship. We would like to thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this article.
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