Human Ecology

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 477–491 | Cite as

The Power of Environmental Knowledge: Ethnoecology and Environmental Conflicts in Mexican Conservation

  • Nora Haenn
Article

Abstract

Theory in political ecology emphasizes the role of competing interests in shaping resource use. Although supportive of these approaches, this article draws on the importance of meanings assigned to ecological systems to question how epistemological differences also contribute to environmental conflicts. Following calls to examine the interface between environmental knowledge and action, consideration is given to ethnoecological constructs of forests on Mexico's southern Yucatan peninsula, home to the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. To quiet opposition to the Reserve, government agents increased financial aid to the region in the form of conservation development projects. With the counsel of a Reserve director, local residents effectively used these projects to press for an environmentalism based on sustainable resource use. This position has associations with a local ethnoecology of land as a place of work. In examining how ethnoecologies played out in contests surrounding conservation, possibilities for a localized, alternative environmentalism are discussed, as well as the importance of environmental constructs for research in political ecology.

POLITICAL ECOLOGY ANTIENVIRONMENTALISM CALAKMUL BIOSPHERE RESERVE SEASONAL TROPICAL ECOLOGY COMMUNITY-BASED CONSERVATION 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Acopa, D., and Boege, E. (1998). The Maya forest in Campeche, Mexico: Experiences in forest management at Calakmul. In Primack, R., Bray, D., Galletti, H., and Ponciano, I. (eds.), Timber, Tourists, and Temples: Conservation and Development in the Maya Forest of Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico. Island Press, Washington, DC, pp. 81-97.Google Scholar
  2. Beltrán, Enrique (ed.) (1958). Los Recursos Naturales del Sureste y su Aprovechamiento. Instituto Mexicano de Recursos Naturales Renovable s, A.C., México, D.F.Google Scholar
  3. Blaikie, P., and Brookfield H. (1987). Land Degradation and Society.London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  4. Boege, E. (1995). The Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Mexico. South-South Cooperation Program, U.N.E.S.C.O., Paris.Google Scholar
  5. Ericson, J. (1996). Conservation and Development on the Border of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. M.A. thesis, Humbolt State University.Google Scholar
  6. Escobar, A. (1999). After nature: Steps to an antiessentialist political ecology. Current Anthropology 40(1): 1-30.Google Scholar
  7. Folan, W. (ed.). (1991) Programa de Manejo de la Biosfera Calakmul Campeche. Secretaria de De sarollo Social, Campeche.Google Scholar
  8. Gates, M. (1993). In Default: Peasants, the Debt Crisis, and the Agricultural Challenge in Mexico.Westview Press, Boulder, CO.Google Scholar
  9. Grossman, L. S. (1998). The Political Ecology of Bananas: Contract Farming, Peasants, and Agrarian Change in the Eastern Caribbean.University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.Google Scholar
  10. Haenn, N. (1998). ``The Government Gave Us the Land”: Political Ecology and Regional Culture in Campeche, Mexico. Doctoral dissertation, Indiana University.Google Scholar
  11. Haenn, N. (1999). Community formation in frontier Mexico: Accepting and rejecting new migrants. Human Organization 58(1): 36-43.Google Scholar
  12. Hart, J.M. (1987). Revolutionary Mexico: The Coming an d Process of the Mexican Revolution. Unive rsity of California Press, Berkeley, CA.Google Scholar
  13. Hunter Jr., M. (1996). Benchmarks for managing ecosystems: Are human activities natural? Conservation Biology 10( 3): 695-697.Google Scholar
  14. Johnson, B. H. (1999).Conservation, Subsistence, and class at the birth of superior national forest. Environmental History 4(1): 80-99.Google Scholar
  15. Mansour, J. (ed.) (1995). Parks in Peril Sou rce Book.The Nature Conservancy, Arlington,VA.Google Scholar
  16. Milton,K. (1996). Environmentalism and Cultural Theory: Exploring the Role of Anthropology in Environmental Discourse.Routledge, New York.Google Scholar
  17. Murphy, J. (1998). Ways of Working in the Forest: Mediating Sustainable Development in Calakmul. Paper presented at the 97th Annual Meeting of American Anthropological Association, Philadelphia, PA.Google Scholar
  18. Nazarea, V. (ed.) (1999a). Ethnoecology: Situated Knowledge/Local Lives. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.Google Scholar
  19. Nazarea, V. (1999b). A view from a point: Ethnoecology as situated knowledge. In Nazare, V. (ed.), Ethnoecology: Situated Knowledge/Local Lives.University of Arizona Press; Tucson, pp. 3-20.Google Scholar
  20. Nugent, D. (1993). Spent Cartridges of the Revolution:An Anthropological History of Namiguipa. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
  21. Peluso, N. (1991). Rich Forests, Poor People: Resource Control and Resistance in Java.University of California Press, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  22. Rocheleau, D., Thomas-Slayter, B., and Wangari, E. (eds.) (1996). Feminist Political Ecology: Global Issues and Local Experiences.Routledge Press, New York.Google Scholar
  23. Schmink, M., and Wood, C. (1987). The ``political ecology” of amazonia. In Little, P. D., & Horowitz, M. M. (eds.), Lands at Risk in the Third World: Local Level Perspectives. Westview Press, Boulder.Google Scholar
  24. Simonian, L. (1996). Defending the Land of the Jaguar: A History of Conservation in Mexico. Unive rsity of Texas Press, Austin, TX.Google Scholar
  25. Stonich, S. (1993). ``I am Destroying the Land !”:The Political Ecology of Poverty and Environmental Destruction in Honduras.Westview Press, Boulder, CO.Google Scholar
  26. Stonich, S., and Dewalt, B. (1996). The political ecology of deforestation in Honduras. In Sponsel, L., Headland, T., and Bailey, R., (eds.) Tropical Deforestation: The Human Dimension.Columbia University Press, New York, pp. 187-215.Google Scholar
  27. Whitmore, T. C. (1990). An Introduction to Tropical Rain Forests. Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  28. Wolf, E. R. (1999). Envisioning Power: Ideologies of Dominance and Crisis.University of California Press, Berkeley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nora Haenn

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations