January 19, 2018

Conservation Memories: Vicissitudes of a Biodiversity Conservation Project in the Rainforests of Colombia, 1992–1998

LealFig1-550 by Claudia Leal

Based primarily on personal memories and conversations with participants, this article discusses a turning point in the long history of nature conservation as it played out in one of the biodiversity hot spots of South America. In the mid-1990s, after the Earth Summit in Rio, conservation initiatives moved beyond protected areas and called for the participation of local communities. Proyecto Biopacífico, the first biodiversity conservation project financed by the Global Environment Facility, unfolded during those days in the very


humid jungles of the Pacific coast of Colombia, an area inhabited primarily by black people. This article unpacks the complexities of involving local communities and organizations in the context of the multicultural turn in Latin American politics. It also analyzes divergent interpretations of this particular experience, questioning the ways in which our worldviews often lead us uncritically to find what we are looking for.

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