Examining conservation attitudes, perspectives, and challenges in India
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.
Karanth, KK; Kramer, RA; Qian, SS; Christensen, NL
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