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Brown, K.
The political ecology of biodiversity, conservation and development in Nepal's Terai: Confused meanings, means and ends
1998  Ecolocigal Economics (24): 73-87

The term biodiversity is now prominent in the global environment and development discourse, and increasigly influences conservation and development policy. Yet biodiversity is fraught with contested definitions and uncertainty. This paper examines some of the difficulties that the multi-dimensional nature of the concept poses in devising conservation and development policies. It explores these issues with reference to field-based research in Nepal. The case study identifies the different interest groups and stakeholders involved in biodiversity conservation and analyses the policy prescriptions they promote. It highlights inadequacies in scientific understanding of the dynamics of complex systems; the lack of historic data on resource use; and crucially, the use:misuse of existing data by different interests. Conventional wisdom dictates that local people's utilisation of resources in areas where biodiversity is high is in conflict with conservation and tourism. Access to and extraction of resources are therefore strictly controlled. The conceptualisation of biodiversity, the causes of its degradation and the solutions offered by conservation stakeholders thus has implications not only for conservation, but critically for the livelihoods and welfare of people in poor countries.

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