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Accepted Paper:

The environment in conservation biology: learnings from an oral history of Indian conservation biologists.  
Hari Sridhar (Konrad Lorenz Institute)

Paper short abstract:

What is the environment in Conservation Biology, and how has it changed over the discipline’s forty-year history as its goals and approaches have evolved? In this talk, I will explore these questions in relation to conservation in India, based on an oral history of Indian Conservation Biology.

Paper long abstract:

Initially, “environment” in Conservation Biology meant one thing: the ecological requirements of endangered and charismatic species. However, as the field’s goals and approaches evolved, “environment” has taken on multiple meanings. For example, as interest shifted from single-species to communities, biologists had to find ways to characterize multi-species environments. Or, as wildlife entered anthropogenic landscapes, humans needed to be included in its conceptualization. And as global drivers of local impacts began to be recognized (e.g., climate change), the scale of what constitutes the environment of a species needed broadening. In this talk, I trace these shifts in conceptualization of the environment in Conservation Biology, based on oral history interviews of 25 Indian Conservation Biologists.

Indian Conservation Biology is unique in the global south. Like the rest of the world, it is based upon ideas and frameworks from “the west”, mainly from the US (what one might call Michael Soulé’s Conservation Biology). At the same time, due to India’s historical resistance to foreign biologists its Conservation Biology community is entirely local. This is in sharp contrast to the rest of the global south, where Conservation Biology historically, and to a large extent till date, is dominated by global north biologists. Indian biologists, have had their ears closer to the ground, so to speak, and have often questioned Conservation Biology’s relevance and values, including its characterization of the environment. Therefore, I believe that the “Indian experience” is a particularly useful lens to critically examine the idea of the environment in Conservation Biology

Panel Pract09
The Environment Around Us: Relational Approaches as Common Ground
  Session 3 Wednesday 21 August, 2024, -