Holistic Conservation

Funding bodies must not fund only the projects of  donors designed to implement conservation as their interests may conflict with beneficiaries in a strategy that over all can be beneficial to conservation as a whole
The surest way to fail “holistically” is to link the effort to welfare. — jtl
by Ivo Arrey Mbongaya

Holistic Conservation

Author:  Ivo Arrey Mbongaya

African Centre for Community and Development

BP 181, Limbe, Cameroon

Email: ivo@africancentreforcommunity.com


Copyrights2016 African Centre for Community and Development. All rights reserved.

This article looks at conservation as the integration of all species and ecosystems and the challenges to the sustainability of these ecosystems as well as the ideas, tactics and strategies to redress the challenges for a more healthier planet with more thriving stable biodiversity and ecosystems. It is based on research by this author at the African Centre for Community and Development and other relevant literature and stakeholder practices. It is also based on the diagrammatical representation above and the intention is to better delivery of conservation for the achievement of the sustainable development goals in Africa and beyond.  Thus holistic conservation approaches the subject by putting people in focus as in many ways their activities endanger other species but without limiting the importance or links of/with other species on land, water and air, their own internal threat mechanisms and threats to man . This article seeks to explore the pillars necessary for  successful holistic conservation and they include the following:

  • The need for effective research on the ecosystem or species to be conserved. This means knowing the cultural and institutional dynamics of society’s in areas to be conserved, their dietary preferences as well as the reproductive biology of lesser species if they are the targets as well as the workings of greater ecosystems. This research must be participatory and academic and must not be top-down not to lead to project failure or the lack of local project ownership.
  • More so there must be funds for holistic conservation to succeed like with any entrepreneurial device. However having funds and with no access to beneficiaries or several pillars of bureaucratic manoeuvres does not only lead to participant boredom but the ineffectiveness of social goods or aid which conservation is supposed to be one.  Modern holistic conservation must be flexible and proactive. Funding bodies must not fund only the projects of  donors designed to implement conservation as their interests may conflict with beneficiaries in a strategy that over all can be beneficial to conservation as a whole. This is pertinent as it is worrisome when one analyses some of the projects that are funded or not funded and why they were funded or not funded.  Donors should approach projects they like within the ecosystems of the internet as well and without necessarily forcing project owners to write business plans that in many ways are reviewed by people with little knowledge of the local project environments or used in different conservation spaces.
  • More so Holistic conservation must make links to forests (Arrey, 2008), soils, air species, water, endangered wildlife and alternatives to endangered wildlife and to man who is the architect of intervention designs globally. There can be no effective conservation of the gorilla for instance, if it is considered a source of food by a poor, hungry and desperate man. The man may be insensitive which may be an anthropogenic deficiency or a cultural deficit but as most diverse species are, there is always something that one will find different in the 7 billion humans on the planet. Therefore providing the man with alternatives to wildlife, alternative income streams and environmental friendly education is as important to preventing poaching like ensuring that species can procreate naturally, increase in population and have a habitat to stay in. Preventing charcoal dependence in the tropical rainforests is as important to management of biodiversity loss from forest degradation, wild fires from climate change or slash and burn agricultural practices or pollution of watery holes by industries as it impacts on push factors for biodiversity loss and degradation.  Therefore production of mini-livestock, pigs, goats, sheep, fish, quails, eggs, ducks, guinea fowl, edible frogs etcetera are as important to conservation as the protection of mangroves, conservation of sharks, dolphins, elephants, rhinos etcetera. Without these links conservation will be elusive to the needs and challenges of ecosystems and man who is  a main pillar to its effective delivery.
  • Apart from putting people (Burnham, 2000) in focus, holistic conservation works on partnerships. Partnerships must be separated from networking or collaborations as they might never fruit into actions on the grounds as with many social media relations punctuated by unnecessary suspicion, divergences in organizational/individual cultures and gross mistakes in profile interpretations by human resource departments in transition or affected by the pool of knowledge banks by trans-boundary actors or boundary spanners and individuals which are steadily challenging institutional strategists or monarchies.  Partners perceive themselves as equal and monetary considerations are as important in post modern project outcome as land that the money is supposed to develop. Without the land the money will be in a bank and without the money the land might stay just where it is or be bought or appreciate or depreciate just like money can appreciate or be devalued.  Therefore holistic conservation tries despite the power of money to be fair and equitable and to be broad-based participatory and inclusive and it avoids cronyism which is the basis of ineffectiveness of aid and its challenges of being replicated or vulgarized beyond communities that have received funding. Partnerships in holistic conservation are also flexible and can be with communities, individuals, civil society organizations and private/public stakeholders. They must not be based on well-written projects that fail on the ground but on strategic alliances with track records of working on the ground.
  • Besides holistic conservation tackles the root causes of conservation needs. Why do we conserve? The answer is simple because there is something that is getting instinct or endangered by anthropogenic and other factors. Some factors are understood and others are not understood hence the reason for research in conservation.  If conservation is buttressed on the roots of a problem there will be no problem linking marine conservation to forest conservation or the production of freshwater fisheries. There will not be an issue linking hunger, malnutrition and illiteracy to poaching, poverty or unemployment or in designing instruments that make links between relevant sectors. This may be unfriendly to organizations that pride in having strategic operations. However a strategy is simply the stringing of tactics to tactics to arrive at a modus operandi that can guarantee the continuous survival of a body, person, or community. So if poor people strategize on Bushmeat as a source of income why cant providing them fish, mini-livestock or alternative viable income streams be a solution to their problem? Therefore holistic conservation looks at war, illiteracy, poverty, failed projects, bad policies, pollution, climate change, inequality, low access to energy, top-down unparticipatory approaches, lack of funding, untargeted funding, lack of due diligence and strategic partnerships, hunger, poverty, malnutrition etcetera as major drivers for the need to conserve biodiversity hence to make links in order to design sustainable trajectories for effective delivery.

Therefore modern conservation must be holistic and trans-boundary as demonstrated in this article and the diagram above. It must move away from classical interventions as it is dealing with species in very dynamic communities and ecosystems affected by major issues including climate change, wars, desertification, hunger, malnutrition, resource scarcity, limited capacities and local priorities that may sometimes conflict with the motives and practices of conservation. This should not deter conservation but encourage conservation to be more dynamic and proactive so as to move from project writing, support of donor priorities to effective conservation and local ownership. Donors and beneficiaries can be real partners just as conservation can be holistic. It takes two to tango and a crowd/people to effectively cheer. Yes it takes two hands to clap.


Top-down and Bottom-up Approaches to Nature Conservation and Countryside Management in Northern Ireland by  David Wilcock http://www.jstor.org/stable/20003581?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Tropical Forest Ecology: The Basis for Conservation and Management By Florencia Montagnini, Carl F. Jordan

Partitioned Nature, Privileged Knowledge: Community-based Conservation in Tanzania http://start.org/download/biodiversity10/Partitioned%20nature_Goldman.pdf

Why Forest Conservation in South West of Cameroon is a problem by Ivo Arrey Mbongaya http://www.africancentreforcommunity.com/Why%20Forest%20Conservation%20in%20South%20West%20of%20Cameroon%20is%20a%20problem%201By%20Arrey%20Mbongaya%20Ivo.%202008%20African%20Centre%20for%20Community%20and%20De.pdf

Richards, P. 1992. ‘Saving the rainforest: contested futures in conservation’. In: S. Wallman ed. ‘Contemporary Futures’. London: Routledge

Richards, P. 1996. ‘Fighting for the Rain Forest’. Oxford: James Currey.

Burnham, P. 2000. ‘Whose forest? Whose myth? – conceptualisations of community forests in Cameroon’. In: A. Abramson & D. Theodossopoulos eds. ‘Land, Law and Environment: Mythical Land, Legal Boundaries’. London: Pluto Press.

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About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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