ISHPSSB 2001 || Quinnipiac University, July 18-22, 2001

Conservation II: Framing Parks and Reserves Policy

The biodiversity concept integrates so many facets of life on earth that it may well serve as the locus of the next great synthesis in biology. Ironically, this achievement may coincide with the greatest loss of its subject matter in tens of millions of years, making biodiversity also the most salient moral issue of the 21st century. These sessions address the nature of biodiversity and its conservation. Part I examines the sometimes problematic notion of biodiversity. Part II focuses on how to operationalize the biodiversity concept in designing nature reserves and park systems. Part III addresses several "internal" questions about the relevance of biodiversity and its measures.

Organized by: Gregory M. Mikkelson, Rice University
Chair: David Castle, University of Guelph

Mónica Vizcaino and José Sarukhán y Lucía Almeida, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
"Analysis of the Incorporation of the Concepts National Park and Biosphere Reserve to the Efforts of Biodiversity Conservation in Mexico"
Mexico is a country with ancient tradition in the concern of biodiversity conservation by means of protecting natural areas since prehispanic cultures, nevertheless in the modern time, the incorporation of an articulated and solid conservation policy was achieved until the end of the last government administration (1994-2000). In this last administration contradictorily, the highest records in protected areas and also in deforested and eroded areas were reached, which means that there was a lack of communication between the different actors involved in this institutional effort. The fact is that legal protection of the territory is not translated in a deceleration of the processes in deforestation and erosion. This political effort was never accompanied by the human and financial resources to obtain its operation, so they were considered in the academic circles and the social groups that inhabited them as "paper protected areas". However, in the last laws of protected areas the declaration processes included included participative consultation.
Two categories of natural areas represent the 68% of the protected surface: National Parks and Biosphere Reserves. Both concepts of conservation have a common origin. They were proposed by international organisms, based in recommendations of scientific groups, which were adopted in Mexico, by recommendations of international financial institutions. The concept National Park was first proposed in the United States and it became common in the world after 1916, when the National Parks Service of the United States was created. In Mexico it is used for the first time in 1917, and it was during the administration of President Lázaro Cárdenas (1930-1936) when it reached its greatest popularity due to the recommendation of the "Pan-American Union". This institution recommended all Latin American governments to declare as National Parks all those areas with forests, mountains and landscapes that contained historical vestiges, or had abundance of wild animals.
The concept Biosphere Reserves, was introduced for the first time in 1971 by the UNESCO working groups. It was adopted for the first time in Mexico in 1978 when it was officially declared Montes Azules as an Integral Biosphere Reserve .It reaches its greatest popularity with the administration of President Carlos Salinas (1988-1994) by recommendations of the international financial institutions. Biosphere Reserve (RB) is a concept of protected area that combines four fundamental elements: scientific investigation, the necessity to have protected areas (nucleus zones), local participation and the legal acceptance. Although the network of Biosphere Reserves in Mexico has become the fundamental system for biodiversity conservation, the model is still being proved, because until now it has not been possible to have a RB that works as it was originally proposed by the UNESCO's model.
On one hand the political bases for the operation of protected areas have been settled down in Mexico, and on the other, a greater sensitivity of the Mexican scientific community, as well as of social groups, to participate in this political effort, has been achieved. This investigation should respond to the question: what should be done to fulfil the cooperation of the different actors involved in these land units so that conservation becomes a common high-priority issue for all of them?

James Justus, Univeristy of Texas
"The Principle of Complementarity in the Design of Reserve Networks to Conserve Biodiversity: A Preliminary History"
Explicit, quantitative methods of prioritizing areas for incorporation into reserve networks such as C-plan, ResNet, or TARGET are replacing the often ad hoc procedures used in past nature reserve selection policy decisions about what areas should be conserved to protect biodiversity. This change facilitates more informed, clearer choices by policy makers, and thereby makes possible greater satisfaction of conservation goals with increased efficiency. A key methodological feature of these site selection programs is the principle of complementarity, which ensures that sites chosen for a reserve network complement those already selected in satisfying specified conservation goals. This paper sketches the historical development of the principle of complementarity and most of its applications in real world policy decisions.

Justin Garson, Univeristy of Texas
"The Consensus View of Conservation Biology and the Surrogacy Problem: Assessing the Influence of Spatial Scale on the Evaluation of Potential Biodiversity Surrogates"
A new consensus view of conservation biology has emerged, primarily from Australian work, and has replaced the framework of conservation biology formulated in the United States in the 1980s. According to the consensus view, there are four related problems in biodiversity conservation: (i) the surrogacy problem; (ii) the place prioritization problem; (iii) the viability problem; and (iv) the multiple constraint synchronization problem. This paper explores the structure of the surrogacy problem and illustrates methods for its potential solution through the use of two disparate data sets.

Conservation I: Biodiversity, the Very Idea || Conservation III: Problems and Strategies


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