Many conservationists insist that conservation that ignores local costs cannot be sustained. For if conservation is greeted with hostility locally then guards and patrols will simply not prevail against determined, and more numerous, rural opponents. This is welcome thinking. It is vital to recognise the problems that conservation policies can pose, and it makes sense strategically to build local alliances.
But this thinking also risks overstating the power of rural groups, and under-estimating the power of the state. It also fails to realise how some conservation visions can become powerful, and the role of international finance and sponsorship in imposing injustice. Fortress Conservation is a detailed look at a dark underbelly of international wildlife conservation. By exploring one, now famous case of 'successful' conservation, the Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania, it shows how complex and messy the history of conservation initiatives can be, how uncertain the ecological theories underpinning particular policies, and how problematic the social consequences. But it also shows how little all of this matters when the fund-raising machines that sustain these fortresses kick in.
Published in association with the International African Institute
North America: Indiana U Press