Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Ecotourism and conservation under COVID-19 and beyond
    Fletcher, Robert ; Büscher, B.E. ; Koot, S.P. ; Massarella, Kate - \ 2020
    ATLAS Tourism and Leisure Review 2020 (2020)2. - ISSN 2468-6719 - p. 42 - 50.
    ‘Close the tap’: COVID-19 and the need for convivial conservation
    Fletcher, Robert ; Büscher, B.E. ; Koot, S.P. ; Massarella, Kate - \ 2020
    Journal of Australian Political Economy 85 (2020). - ISSN 0156-5826 - p. 200 - 211.
    “Who doesn't like dolphins?!” Neoliberalization, variegated environmentalities, and value alterations in a cross-national comparison of Irrawaddy dolphin conservation
    Deutsch, Sierra - \ 2020
    Geoforum 114 (2020). - ISSN 0016-7185 - p. 159 - 171.
    Cambodia - Dolphins - Myanmar - Neoliberal conservation - Subjectivity - Variegated/multiple environmentalities

    Critical assessments of the conservation-capitalism relationship based on Foucault's concept of governmentality have generated notions of environmental governance as forms of ‘green’ governmentality or ‘environmentality.’ This paper contributes to the environmentalities literature by demonstrating the utility of a variegated environmentalities approach in understanding how the process of neoliberalization unfolds in different conservation contexts to influence different subjectivities. In this cross-national comparison, I examine the value shifts associated with conservation projects from the perspectives and experiences of the people most affected by these projects. Using Fletcher's (2010) environmentalities typology, I compare two approaches to Irrawaddy dolphin conservation: one in Myanmar focused on community enrichment and preservation of traditional human-dolphin relationships; the other in Cambodia focused on individual monetary wealth and neoliberal economic development. I argue that the dominant governing rationalities in each country influenced the execution of neoliberal environmentality and the ways in which it articulated with other types of environmentality. I then show how these unique articulations led to starkly different subjectivities by reinforcing socioecological values in Myanmar while restructuring them in Cambodia to align with neoliberal rationalities. I do this by contrasting findings in the two projects to trace the alteration of values in Cambodia from dolphins to other socioecological relations. I conclude by suggesting that dominant governing rationalities that foreground community and reciprocity in socioecological relations may serve to temper neoliberalism and thus provide a path toward alternative socioecologies and sustainabilities.

    The handbook for standardized field and laboratory measurements in terrestrial climate change experiments and observational studies (ClimEx)
    Halbritter, Aud H. ; Boeck, Hans J. De; Eycott, Amy E. ; Reinsch, Sabine ; Robinson, David A. ; Vicca, Sara ; Berauer, Bernd ; Christiansen, Casper T. ; Estiarte, Marc ; Grünzweig, José M. ; Gya, Ragnhild ; Hansen, Karin ; Jentsch, Anke ; Lee, Hanna ; Linder, Sune ; Marshall, John ; Peñuelas, Josep ; Kappel Schmidt, Inger ; Stuart-Haëntjens, Ellen ; Wilfahrt, Peter ; Vandvik, Vigdis ; Abrantes, Nelson ; Almagro, María ; Althuizen, Inge H.J. ; Barrio, Isabel C. ; Beest, Mariska Te; Beier, Claus ; Beil, Ilka ; Carter Berry, Z. ; Birkemoe, Tone ; Bjerke, Jarle W. ; Blonder, Benjamin ; Blume-Werry, Gesche ; Bohrer, Gil ; Campos, Isabel ; Cernusak, Lucas A. ; Chojnicki, Bogdan H. ; Cosby, Bernhard J. ; Dickman, Lee T. ; Djukic, Ika ; Filella, Iolanda ; Fuchslueger, Lucia ; Gargallo-Garriga, Albert ; Gillespie, Mark A.K. ; Goldsmith, Gregory R. ; Gough, Christopher ; Halliday, Fletcher W. ; Hegland, Stein Joar ; Ploeg, Martine van der; Verbruggen, Erik - \ 2020
    Methods in Ecology and Evolution 11 (2020)1. - ISSN 2041-210X - p. 22 - 37.
    best practice - coordinated experiments - data management and documentation - ecosystem - experimental macroecology - methodology - open science - vegetation

    Climate change is a world-wide threat to biodiversity and ecosystem structure, functioning and services. To understand the underlying drivers and mechanisms, and to predict the consequences for nature and people, we urgently need better understanding of the direction and magnitude of climate change impacts across the soil–plant–atmosphere continuum. An increasing number of climate change studies are creating new opportunities for meaningful and high-quality generalizations and improved process understanding. However, significant challenges exist related to data availability and/or compatibility across studies, compromising opportunities for data re-use, synthesis and upscaling. Many of these challenges relate to a lack of an established ‘best practice’ for measuring key impacts and responses. This restrains our current understanding of complex processes and mechanisms in terrestrial ecosystems related to climate change. To overcome these challenges, we collected best-practice methods emerging from major ecological research networks and experiments, as synthesized by 115 experts from across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Our handbook contains guidance on the selection of response variables for different purposes, protocols for standardized measurements of 66 such response variables and advice on data management. Specifically, we recommend a minimum subset of variables that should be collected in all climate change studies to allow data re-use and synthesis, and give guidance on additional variables critical for different types of synthesis and upscaling. The goal of this community effort is to facilitate awareness of the importance and broader application of standardized methods to promote data re-use, availability, compatibility and transparency. We envision improved research practices that will increase returns on investments in individual research projects, facilitate second-order research outputs and create opportunities for collaboration across scientific communities. Ultimately, this should significantly improve the quality and impact of the science, which is required to fulfil society's needs in a changing world.

    Conservation basic income : A non-market mechanism to support convivial conservation
    Fletcher, Robert ; Büscher, Bram - \ 2020
    Biological Conservation 244 (2020). - ISSN 0006-3207
    Cash transfer programs - Convivial conservation - Market-based instruments - Payment for ecosystem services - REDD+ - Universal basic income

    This article advances a proposal for conservation basic income (CBI) as a novel strategy for funding biodiversity conservation that moves beyond widely promoted market-based instruments (MBIs). This CBI proposal responds to two important empirical developments. The first concerns growing discussions around cash transfer programs (CTPs) and universal basic income (UBI). These are increasingly implemented or piloted yet do not usually take into account environmental issues including biodiversity conservation. The second relates to MBIs like payments for ecosystem services (PES) and REDD+ (reduced emissions through avoided deforestation and forest degradation). In practice, these programs have not only commonly failed to halt biodiversity loss and alleviate poverty but have also largely abandoned their market-based origins, leading to calls for moving beyond market-based conservation entirely. We conclude that the time is right to integrate and transcend these existing mechanisms to develop conservation basic income as part of a broader paradigm shift towards convivial conservation that foregrounds concerns for social justice and equity.

    Popular Philanthrocapitalism? The Potential and Pitfalls of Online Empowerment in “Free” Nature 2.0 Initiatives
    Koot, Stasja ; Fletcher, Robert - \ 2020
    Environmental Communication 14 (2020)3. - ISSN 1752-4032 - p. 287 - 299.
    commodification - depoliticization - Empowerment - nature 2.0 - philanthrocapitalism - web 2.0

    This article investigates assertions that new philanthropic web 2.0 initiatives can empower Internet users to further social and environmental change. It focuses on two ostensibly “free” web 2.0 initiatives aimed at nature conservation: “Greenvolved” and “Safari Challenge Zoo Adventure.” With Greenvolved, clicking on one’s favorite projects is supposed to support conservation initiatives whereas in Safari Challenge users interact through gaming on the virtual African savannahs to conserve online nature, thereby supporting various offline humanitarian projects. Drawing on discussions of “philanthrocapitalism” and “nature 2.0,” our analysis demonstrates that such “popular philanthrocapitalist” initiatives do not support empowering collective action but instead depoliticize and commodify environmental activism. Such initiatives thereby allow neoliberal capitalism to further extend its reach under the pretense of empowering those whom it marginalizes.

    Not tourism-phobia but urban-philia : Understanding stakeholders’ perceptions of urban touristification
    Blanco-Romero, Asunción ; Blázquez-Salom, Macià ; Morell, Marc ; Fletcher, Robert - \ 2019
    Boletin de la Asociacion de Geografos Espanoles (2019)83. - ISSN 0212-9426
    Right to the city - Tourism - Tourism-phobia - Urban struggle - Urban-philia

    Tourism development affects prominent city centres worldwide, causing social unrest that has been labelled “tourism-phobia.” This article problematizes the recent appearance of this term by unravelling the links between the materiality of contemporary urban tourism and the response it receives from social movements opposing its expansion. We endeavour to understand the meaning that different actors involved in the city's touristification attach to this term, and in particular the perceptions of citizens’ movements that claim to espouse not tourism-phobia but urban-philia. To analyze these dynamics, we draw on Lefebvre’s discussion of the “right to the city” to highlight the extractive productive relations characterizing the tourism industry and the contestations such relations trigger. Taking the example of two Spanish cities (Barcelona and Palma), our findings indicate that the social malaise found in tourist oversaturation is due to the disruption it causes to everyday life, including price increases and rising rents. Consequently, the discomfort popular mobilisations have generated among the ruling class has led the latter to disqualify and even criminalise the former’s legitimate claims under the label of tourism-phobia. To conclude, we call for a future research agenda in pursuit of social justice and equity around re-touristification, detouristification or even tourist degrowth.

    Tourism and degrowth: an emerging agenda for research and praxis
    Fletcher, Robert ; Murray Mas, Ivan ; Blanco-Romero, Asunción ; Blázquez-Salom, Macià - \ 2019
    Journal of Sustainable Tourism 27 (2019)12. - ISSN 0966-9582 - p. 1745 - 1763.
    Degrowth - overtourism - platform capitalism - political ecology - political economy

    This article outlines a conceptual framework and research agenda for exploring the relationship between tourism and degrowth. Rapid and uneven expansion of tourism as a response to the 2008 economic crisis has proceeded in parallel with the rise of social discontent concerning so-called “overtourism.” Despite decades of concerted global effort to achieve sustainable development, meanwhile, socioecological conflicts and inequality have rarely reversed, but in fact increased in many places. Degrowth, understood as both social theory and social movement, has emerged within the context of this global crisis. Yet thus far the vibrant degrowth discussion has yet to engage systematically with the tourism industry in particular, while by the same token tourism research has largely neglected explicit discussion of degrowth. We bring the two discussions together here to interrogate their complementarity. Identifying a growth imperative in the basic structure of the capitalist economy, we contend that mounting critique of overtourism can be understood as a structural response to the ravages of capitalist development more broadly. Debate concerning overtourism thus offers a valuable opportunity to re-politicize discussion of tourism development generally. We contribute to this discussion by exploring of the potential for degrowth to facilitate a truly sustainable tourism.

    Environmental governance in Bhutan : ecotourism, environmentality and cosmological subjectivities
    Montes, Jesse - \ 2019
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): B. Büscher, co-promotor(en): R. Fletcher. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463950121 - 148

    This thesis explores how environmental conservation and subjectivities are influenced as Bhutan negotiates its increasing integration into the global neoliberal capitalist economy. Until recently, Bhutan sought to isolate itself to a large degree from international integration, instead relying on a strongly state-centred monarchic governance regime to deliver economic development domestically. In so doing Bhutan has developed an international reputation for forward thinking in regards to human well-being as the country contests dominant economic models for development practice through its promotion of its signature Gross National Happiness (GNH) agenda. Now, however, Bhutan is working to negotiate increased involvement in global market forces, causing fissures to emerge in this philosophy and ideology. One of the main forms of global market integration currently pursued by Bhutan is ecotourism, which has been described as a quintessential neoliberal project seeking to harness environmental conservation as a form of income generation (Büscher and Fletcher, 2015). While this promotion seeks to frame ecotourism as an economic strategy to balance environmental and development aspirations, how the sector influences cultural values and assumptions is unaddressed. In this way, ecotourism can be seen to promote particular cultural transformations and forms of subjectivities that challenge the broader goals of the GNH agenda to date. This work explores these dynamics through a poststructuralist political ecology framework. Via this lens, an examination of discourse and power relations at multiple scales is conducted in order to gain critical insight into conservation paradigms operating in the country under the influence of newfound neoliberalization processes. Concepts of governmentality and biopower ground this examination by providing a framework for analysing emerging rationalities of governance. Chapter 5 provides insight into Bhutan’s overarching forms of governance, placing the country within the context of global capitalism and associated discourses. A ‘variegated’ governmentality perspective highlights the coexistence of multiple rationalities that contribute to an emergent ‘Buddhist’ biopower grounded in situated values represented by a Buddhist worldview and the country’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) agenda. Chapter 6 focuses on the national level, honing in on environmental governance in particular. ‘Environmentality’, an adaptation of the governmentality concept, is employed as a conceptual framework for understanding environmental discourses in the country. The cases of ‘Bhutan for Life’, a policy plan for implementing conservation funding, and the ecotourism this plan promotes, are examined to understand how neoliberal discourses interact with a Buddhist worldview, a history of state paternalism, and the Gross National Happiness agenda, all of which constitute competing rationalities contributing to Bhutan’s unique environmental governance approach. Chapter 7 takes us to the community level, examining three ecotourism cases in the country, in order to explore ecotourism discourses present in each. Haa Valley homestay, the Phobjikha Homestay network, and the Phajoding Eco-Camp serve as select sites for this analysis. Drawing on Dwelling theory, the chapter shows that ecotourism conflicts with pre-existing local perceptions and values related to the environment. Divergences related to social and human-environment relations thus develop from enrolment in ecotourism programs, with contestations between the explicit goals of GNH and embedded communitarian values. Finally, Chapter 8 probes environmental subjectivities via a case study of Shokuna herders in the highlands of Haa Dzongkhag (district). Through a landscape ethnoecological approach, an animated cosmological landscape is revealed through the process of storying, highlighting particular perceptions and subjectivities related to a truth environmentality. Foucault’s ‘art of distributions’ (1977) are used as a scaffold for analysing this environmentality showing how subjectivities manifest through belief in a cosmological hierarchy, perceptions of an animated landscape, and a reversal of western technocratic and managerial perspectives. As such, herders within the landscape have developed specific beliefs, behaviours, and resource acquisition patterns attuned with a particular ‘environmental’ subject. These four chapters are interconnected, acting in a nested manner to develop a multiscalar analysis of Bhutan’s engagement with and contestations around environmental discourses. As such, these chapters aim to provide a nuanced analysis of the problematic situation facing the country in which ecotourism, and its associated neoliberal rationale, challenge existing societal norms and values. With the ecotourism sector being appraised as an ideal strategy for the country it is critical to explore contestations that emerge with its adoption in order to provide a realistic assessment that addresses broader cultural impacts. In terms of theoretical contributions, this work:

    1. Illustrates the variegated nature of a novel governance constellation in Bhutan and how this manifests in a situated form of biopower embodying non-western (Buddhist) spiritualities;

    2. Underscores local specificities that account for discrepancies in the vision and execution of neoliberal conservation but goes beyond this to express other rationalities that also exists within a variegated environmentality framework. I show that indigenous efforts prove critical when re-interpreting conservation strategies and warding off external dynamics, such as foreign agencies and global capitalist actors, that promote possibly dangerous trends putting at risk the goals of the GNH agenda;

    3. Addresses the discursive nature of the ecotourism sector through a rarely employed dwelling lens, which is used to interpret indigenous perceptions of the landscape and their relation to it in order to reveal local contestations to neoliberal logic. While neoliberalism and ecotourism promote dualist perspectives in terms of humans and/vs nature, dwelling theory resonates with Buddhist and Bhutanese worldviews in which these divides are less concrete;

    4. Contributes to GNH studies by juxtaposing the ideal of GNH with the neoliberal conservation paradigm, revealing opportunities for adapting the country’s ecotourism strategy;

    5. Provides an analysis of underexplored truth environmentalities based on cosmological subjectivities.

    The political ecology of conservation in the country reveals a complex constellation of external and internal forces/actors that promote discourses of sustainability and wellbeing, with a concerted effort to respond to demands of the international community while maintaining a cultural identity grounded in spirituality and the concept of GNH. Driven by a need to facilitate development for a largely impoverished population, and the desire to uphold a reputation for strong environmental protection, Bhutan adopts particular strategies (payment for environmental services (PES), ecotourism, and green tax structures) that align with a neoliberal conservation model. However, this adoption is conducted without a critical eye to underlying rationalities that drive such strategies. As a result, discursive processes promote particular environmental subjectivities and novel perceptions that cultivate new social and human-environment relations putting at risk the broader goals of the GNH agenda.

    Towards Convivial Conservation
    Büscher, Bram ; Fletcher, Robert - \ 2019
    Conservation and Society 17 (2019)3. - ISSN 0972-4923 - p. 283 - 296.
    Anthropocene - capitalism - conservation - conviviality - nature - political ecology

    Environmental conservation finds itself in desperate times. Saving nature, to be sure, has never been an easy proposition. But the arrival of the Anthropocene-the alleged new phase of world history in which humans dominate the earth-system seems to have upped the ante dramatically; the choices facing the conservation community have now become particularly stark. Several proposals for revolutionising conservation have been proposed, including 'new' conservation, 'half Earth' and more. These have triggered heated debates and potential for (contemplating) radical change. Here, we argue that these do not take political economic realities seriously enough and hence cannot lead us forward. Another approach to conservation is needed, one that takes seriously our economic system's structural pressures, violent socio-ecological realities, cascading extinctions and increasingly authoritarian politics. We propose an alternative termed 'convivial conservation'. Convivial conservation is a vision, a politics and a set of governance principles that realistically respond to the core pressures of our time. Drawing on a variety of perspectives in social theory and movements from around the globe, it proposes a post-capitalist approach to conservation that promotes radical equity, structural transformation and environmental justice and so contributes to an overarching movement to create a more equal and sustainable world.

    Patterns of nitrogen-fixing tree abundance in forests across Asia and America
    Menge, Duncan N.L. ; Chisholm, Ryan A. ; Davies, Stuart J. ; Abu Salim, Kamariah ; Allen, David ; Alvarez, Mauricio ; Bourg, Norm ; Brockelman, Warren Y. ; Bunyavejchewin, Sarayudh ; Butt, Nathalie ; Cao, Min ; Chanthorn, Wirong ; Chao, Wei Chun ; Clay, Keith ; Condit, Richard ; Cordell, Susan ; Silva, João Batista da; Dattaraja, H.S. ; Andrade, Ana Cristina Segalin de; Oliveira, Alexandre A. de; Ouden, Jan den; Drescher, Michael ; Fletcher, Christine ; Giardina, Christian P. ; Savitri Gunatilleke, C.V. ; Gunatilleke, I.A.U.N. ; Hau, Billy C.H. ; He, Fangliang ; Howe, Robert ; Hsieh, Chang Fu ; Hubbell, Stephen P. ; Inman-Narahari, Faith M. ; Jansen, Patrick A. ; Johnson, Daniel J. ; Kong, Lee Sing ; Král, Kamil ; Ku, Chen Chia ; Lai, Jiangshan ; Larson, Andrew J. ; Li, Xiankun ; Li, Yide ; Lin, Luxiang ; Lin, Yi Ching ; Liu, Shirong ; Lum, Shawn K.Y. ; Lutz, James A. ; Ma, Keping ; Malhi, Yadvinder ; McMahon, Sean ; McShea, William ; Mi, Xiangcheng ; Morecroft, Michael ; Myers, Jonathan A. ; Nathalang, Anuttara ; Novotny, Vojtech ; Ong, Perry ; Orwig, David A. ; Ostertag, Rebecca ; Parker, Geoffrey ; Phillips, Richard P. ; Abd. Rahman, Kassim ; Sack, Lawren ; Sang, Weiguo ; Shen, Guochun ; Shringi, Ankur ; Shue, Jessica ; Su, Sheng Hsin ; Sukumar, Raman ; Fang Sun, I. ; Suresh, H.S. ; Tan, Sylvester ; Thomas, Sean C. ; Toko, Pagi S. ; Valencia, Renato ; Vallejo, Martha I. ; Vicentini, Alberto ; Vrška, Tomáš ; Wang, Bin ; Wang, Xihua ; Weiblen, George D. ; Wolf, Amy ; Xu, Han ; Yap, Sandra ; Zhu, Li ; Fung, Tak - \ 2019
    Journal of Ecology 107 (2019)6. - ISSN 0022-0477 - p. 2598 - 2610.
    forest - legume - nitrogen fixation - nutrient limitation - Smithsonian ForestGEO - symbiosis

    Symbiotic nitrogen (N)-fixing trees can provide large quantities of new N to ecosystems, but only if they are sufficiently abundant. The overall abundance and latitudinal abundance distributions of N-fixing trees are well characterised in the Americas, but less well outside the Americas. Here, we characterised the abundance of N-fixing trees in a network of forest plots spanning five continents, ~5,000 tree species and ~4 million trees. The majority of the plots (86%) were in America or Asia. In addition, we examined whether the observed pattern of abundance of N-fixing trees was correlated with mean annual temperature and precipitation. Outside the tropics, N-fixing trees were consistently rare in the forest plots we examined. Within the tropics, N-fixing trees were abundant in American but not Asian forest plots (~7% versus ~1% of basal area and stems). This disparity was not explained by mean annual temperature or precipitation. Our finding of low N-fixing tree abundance in the Asian tropics casts some doubt on recent high estimates of N fixation rates in this region, which do not account for disparities in N-fixing tree abundance between the Asian and American tropics. Synthesis. Inputs of nitrogen to forests depend on symbiotic nitrogen fixation, which is constrained by the abundance of N-fixing trees. By analysing a large dataset of ~4 million trees, we found that N-fixing trees were consistently rare in the Asian tropics as well as across higher latitudes in Asia, America and Europe. The rarity of N-fixing trees in the Asian tropics compared with the American tropics might stem from lower intrinsic N limitation in Asian tropical forests, although direct support for any mechanism is lacking. The paucity of N-fixing trees throughout Asian forests suggests that N inputs to the Asian tropics might be lower than previously thought.

    The fatal flaws of compassionate conservation
    Oommen, Meera Anna ; Cooney, Rosie ; Ramesh, Madhuri ; Archer, Michael ; Brockington, Daniel ; Buscher, Bram ; Fletcher, Robert ; Natusch, Daniel J.D. ; Vanak, Abi T. ; Webb, Grahame ; Shanker, Kartik - \ 2019
    Conservation Biology 33 (2019)4. - ISSN 0888-8892 - p. 784 - 787.
    Local temperature and ecological similarity drive distributional dynamics of tropical mammals worldwide
    Beaudrot, Lydia ; Acevedo, Miguel A. ; Lessard, Jean Philippe ; Zvoleff, Alex ; Jansen, Patrick A. ; Sheil, Douglas ; Rovero, Francesco ; O’Brien, Timothy ; Larney, Eileen ; Fletcher, Christine ; Andelman, Sandy ; Ahumada, Jorge - \ 2019
    Global Ecology and Biogeography 28 (2019)7. - ISSN 1466-822X - p. 976 - 991.
    coexistence - dynamic occupancy modelling - imperfect detection - occupancy–environment association - range shift - species distribution - species interactions

    Aim: Identifying the underlying drivers of species’ distributional dynamics is critical for predicting change and managing biological diversity. While anthropogenic factors such as climate change can affect species distributions through time, other naturally occurring ecological processes can also have an influence. Theory predicts that interactions between species can influence distributional dynamics, yet empirical evidence remains sparse. A powerful approach is to monitor and model local colonization and extinction—the processes that generate change in distributions over time—and to identify their abiotic and biotic associations. Intensive camera-trap monitoring provides an opportunity to assess the role of temperature and species interactions in the colonization and extinction dynamics of tropical mammals, many of which are species of conservation concern. Using data from a pan-tropical monitoring network, we examined how short-term local temperature change and ecological similarity between species (a proxy for the strength of species interactions) influenced the processes that drive distributional shifts. Location: Tropical forests worldwide. Time period: 2007–2016. Major taxa studied: Terrestrial mammals. Methods: We used dynamic occupancy models to assess the influence of the abiotic and biotic environment on the distributional dynamics of 42 mammal populations from 36 species on 7 tropical elevation gradients around the world. Results: Overall, temperature, ecological similarity, or both, were linked to colonization or extinction dynamics in 29 populations. For six species, the effect of temperature depended upon the local mammal community similarity. This result suggests that the way in which temperature influences local colonization and extinction dynamics depends on local mammal community composition. Main conclusions: These results indicate that varying temperatures influence tropical mammal distributions in surprising ways and suggest that interactions between species mediate distributional dynamics.

    Neoliberalism in Denial in Actor-oriented PES Research? A Rejoinder to Van Hecken et al. (2018) and a Call for Justice
    Fletcher, Robert ; Büscher, Bram - \ 2019
    Ecological Economics 156 (2019). - ISSN 0921-8009 - p. 420 - 423.
    Agency - Justice - Neoliberalism - Payment for ecosystem services - Structure

    In this response to Van Hecken et al. (2018), we seek to clarify the analysis (Fletcher and Büscher, 2017) they critique in the face of gross distortion and redirect the discussion back to the point we sought to make: that it is crucial to point out that PES is a neoliberal conservation paradigm, and that this acknowledgement should be made even if PES implementation is far from any neoliberal “ideal” in practice. Only by following this nuanced perspective on PES that integrates agency and structure can we acknowledge what is inherently flawed about the paradigm: namely that it constrains broader opportunities for social and environmental justice beyond how local actors subject to PES interventions creatively appropriate the mechanism. This is why we titled our original article “The PES Conceit,” as its promotion constrains these broader opportunities, even as they do not work out as planned.

    Ecotourism after nature : Anthropocene tourism as a new capitalist “fix”
    Fletcher, Robert - \ 2019
    Journal of Sustainable Tourism 27 (2019)4. - ISSN 0966-9582 - p. 522 - 535.
    Anthropocene - capitalism - Capitalocene - disaster - ecotourism - voluntourism

    How does ecotourism–conventionally characterized by its pursuit of a “natural” experience–confront assertions that “nature is over” attendant to growing promotion of the “Anthropocene”? One increasingly prominent strategy is to try to harness this “end of nature” itself as a novel tourism “product”. If the Anthropocene is better understood as the Capitalocene, as some contend, then this strategy can be viewed as a paradigmatic example of disaster capitalism in which crises precipitated by capitalist processes are themselves exploited as new forms of accumulation. In this way, engagement with the Anthropocene becomes the latest in a series of spatio-temporal “fixes” that the tourism industry can be seen to provide to the capitalist system in general. Here I explore this dynamic by examining several ways in which the prospect of the loss of “natural” resources are promoted as the basis of tourism experience: disaster tourism; extinction tourism; voluntourism; development tourism; and, increasingly, self-consciously Anthropocene tourism as well. Via such strategies, Anthropocene tourism exemplifies capitalism’s astonishing capacity for self-renewal through creative destruction, sustaining itself in a “post-nature” world by continuing to market social and environmental awareness and action even while shifting from pursuit of nonhuman “nature” previously grounding these aims.

    Natural capital must be defended: green growth as neoliberal biopolitics
    Fletcher, Robert ; Dressler, Wolfram H. ; Anderson, Zachary R. ; Büscher, Bram - \ 2019
    The Journal of Peasant Studies 46 (2019)5. - ISSN 0306-6150 - p. 1 - 28.
    biopower - conservation - environmental markets - Natural capital - neoliberalism
    This contribution addresses the growing global trend to promote ‘natural capital accounting’ (NCA) in support of environmental conservation. NCA seeks to harness the economic value of conserved nature to incentivize local resource users to forgo the opportunity costs of extractive activities. We suggest that this represents a form of neoliberal biopower/biopolitics seeking to defend life by demonstrating its ‘profitability’ and hence right to exist. While little finance actually reaches communities through this strategy, substantial funding still flows into the idea of ‘natural capital’ as the basis of improving rural livelihoods. Drawing on two cases in Southeast Asia, we show that NCA initiatives may compel some local people to value ecosystem services in financial terms, yet in most cases this perspective remains partial and fragmented in communities where such initiatives produce a range of unintended outcomes. When the envisioned environmental markets fail to develop and benefits remain largely intangible, NCA fails to meet the growing material aspirations of farmers while also offering little if any bulwark against their using forests more intensively and/or enrolling in lucrative extractive enterprise. We thus conclude that NCA in practice may become the antithesis of conservation by actually encouraging the resource extraction it intends to combat.
    Protected areas and biodiversity conservation
    Fletcher, Robert - \ 2018
    In: The Routledge Handbook of Latin American Development / Cupples, J., Palomino-Schalscha, M., Prieto, M., Taylor and Francis - ISBN 9781138060739 - p. 409 - 420.

    This chapter reviews the rise of and challenges faced by protected areas (PAs) aimed at biodiversity conservation throughout Latin America over the past half century in particular. It charts a similar process throughout the region whereby a global campaign championed by international environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and financial institutions (IFIs) helped to inspire and fund the establishment of nationwide systems of PAs. While these PAs were initially administered predominantly in classic “fortress” fashion, in recent decades this approach has been complemented by introduction of a community-based conservation (CBC) strategy that seeks to enlist local residents as stakeholders and decision makers, introducing a series of market-based instruments (MBIs) including ecotourism and payment for environmental services (PES) to generate revenue to support this. More recently, this approach has been intensified by the rise of “post-neoliberal” politics in a number of societies that pursues a better integration of environmental and developmental concerns. Yet this has been challenged by the expansion of raw material extraction driven in large part by expanding trade relations with East Asia and elsewhere. As a result, protected areas have become key sites of renewed contestation between forces of conservation and extraction. The chapter discusses these developments and their implications for the future of biodiversity conservation in the region.

    Value from Ruin? Governing Speculative Conservation in Ruptured Landscapes
    Dressler, Wolfram H. ; Fletcher, Robert ; Fabinyi, Michael - \ 2018
    TRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia 6 (2018)1. - ISSN 2051-364X - p. 73 - 99.
    Livelihood Change - Rupture - Southeast Asia - Speculative Governance - Value

    This paper examines how state and non-state actors govern through pursuing speculative conservation among resource-dependent people who must renegotiate altered livelihoods amidst extractivism in ruptured landscapes. As donor aid declines and changes form, bilaterals, state agencies, and civil society now pursue advocacy in overlapping spaces of intensifying extractivism and speculative governance in the ruptured frontiers of Southeast Asia. In these spaces, bilaterals and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) struggle to work with upland farmers who negotiate the contrasting expectations of the abstract, speculative nature of conservation initiatives and the lucrative nature of extractive labour in the face of dramatic transformations of agrarian livelihoods and landscapes. Through a case study of the Philippine uplands, we demonstrate that as speculative conservation unfolds and manifests within and beyond these landscapes, it endeavours to revalue nature monetarily in ways that help reorganise labour and capital in an effort to overcome the exhaustion of capital wrought by rupture. We propose that during moments of rupture speculative conservation coproduces value from ruin by renewing and preserving capital flows.

    Breeding programmes prove their worth
    Janssen, Kasper - \ 2018


    Working governance for working land
    Brockington, Dan ; Adams, William M. ; Agarwal, Bina ; Agrawal, Arun ; Büscher, Bram ; Chhatre, Ashwini ; Duffy, Rosaleen ; Fletcher, Robert ; Oldekop, Johan A. - \ 2018
    Science 362 (2018)6420. - ISSN 0036-8075 - p. 1257 - 1257.
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