Examining conservation attitudes, perspectives, and challenges in India

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Biodiversity conservation issues are often contentious and complex. Polarized debates on the effectiveness of protected areas and role of people inside them, charismatic species as conservation foci, and on specific policy initiatives are common among Indian and global conservationists. We surveyed Indian conservationists about the conservation effectiveness of protected areas and charismatic species, as well as status of conservation and research efforts. We expected differences among people based on professional affiliation, and educational background. We examined participants' opinions on conservation policies like Project Tiger and Elephant, the Forest Rights Act, and the Tiger Task Force Report. Participants ranked Indian research efforts as average, and identified a bias towards terrestrial species and ecosystems. Ninety-percent of participants considered reserves to be effective, many (61%) participants felt that the situation of people living inside reserves is unsustainable, and many (76%) felt the use of force to protect reserves from illegal human activities is acceptable. Classification and regression tree models for these questions suggested that non-academics were more likely than academics to agree with these positions. On the success of Project Tiger and Elephant, older participants were more likely to think these initiatives were a success. Many (63%) participants felt the Forest Rights Act needed revision, particularly if they had doctoral degrees. Sixty-two percent of participants did not think Tiger Task Force was effective. Overall, participants' professional affiliation, age, and academic degree were important predictors of participants attitudes towards conservation initiatives. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.






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Karanth, Krithi K, Randall A Kramer, Song S Qian and Norman L Christensen (2008). Examining conservation attitudes, perspectives, and challenges in India. Biological Conservation, 141(9). pp. 2357–2367. 10.1016/j.biocon.2008.06.027 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/6646.

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Randall Kramer

Juli Plant Grainger Professor Emeritus of Global Environmental Health

Before coming to Duke in 1988, he was on the faculty at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He has held visiting positions at IUCN--The World Conservation Union, the Economic Growth Center at Yale University, and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank, World Health Organization and other international organizations. He was named Duke University's Scholar Teacher of the Year in 2004.

Kramer's research is focused on the economics of ecosystem services and on global environmental health. He is currently conducting a study on the effects of human land use decisions on biodiversity, infectious disease transmission and human health in rural Madagascar. Recent research projects have used decision analysis and implementation science to evaluate the health, social and environmental impacts of alternative malaria control strategies in East Africa. He has also conducted research on health systems strengthening, economic valuation of lives saved from air pollution reduction. and the role of ecosystems services in protecting human health.


Norman L. Christensen

Professor Emeritus in the Division of Environmental Sciences and Policy

Christensen's research focuses on the effects of disturbance on structure and function of populations, communities and ecosystems. On going studies include an analysis of patterns of forest development following cropland abandonment as these are affected by environment, stand history and plant demographic patterns. He and his students are pursuing comparative studies of ecosystem responses to varying fire regimes across temperate North America. He is conducting research on the utilization of remote sensing systems such as synthetic aperture radar to evaluate long-term changes in forest ecosystems. In addition to these interests in basic ecological science, Christensen has written widely on the importance of natural disturbance in the management of forests, shrublands, and wetlands. He is interested in the application of basic ecological theory and models to management, and has collaborated with others in the development of the concept of ecosystem management.

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