The Development of Conservation in Theory and Practice

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The Development of Conservation in Theory and Practice

In considering the issue of wildlife conservation, a link to development rises quickly to the surface. After all, the animals seemingly considered the most prized by the collective popular consciousness, such as primates, occur predominantly in tropical areas of the world considered by most to be “underdeveloped.” According to the United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the rate of growth in developed countries, mostly those located in Europe and America, between 2005 and 2050 is expected to remain relatively minimal, while the population of the developing world is projected to substantially increase, from 5.3 billion to 7.8 billion, over the same period of time (United Nations Population Division 2005, vi). This includes a more drastic increase in the world’s 50 least developed country (mostly located in Africa and Asia), where the number of inhabitants is projected to swell from 0.8 billion to 1.7 billion over the same period. As such, in putting together a theory for development more broadly and conservation more specifically, it is crucial that the link between societal growth and natural resource and wildlife degradation be explored. In the following discussion, I hope to accomplish a few things. First, I will consider development theory broadly, looking at its evolution through time and some popular contemporary critiques. Though development theory (as it stands today) does not always explicitly relate to conservation, it is crucial to have a broad understanding of it since any conservation strategies will be placed in the context of greater development goals, if not as an explicit part of them. Second, I will look more closely at the place of environmental conservation within the development discourse, focusing primarily on legacy of the 1987…...

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