Book
2014
Nature Without Borders
Mahesh Rangarajan, M D Madhusudan, Ghazala Shahabuddin
Orient Blackswan

Nature Without Borders explores the ways in which conservation of biodiversity can coexist with human actions and interests through a series of different essays. While wildlife conservation in India has traditionally depended on fencing off fragments of areas and habitats and guarding them against human encroachment, such an approach is limited in value, given that formally designated Protected Areas occupy a very small proportion of territory and that nature and natural processes transcend human boundaries and cannot be contained within the borders of nature reserves. Effective conservation, therefore, cannot ever depend on limiting or excluding human activity when habitats and environments themselves have porous boundaries.

Recent research, moreover, shows that effective conservation efforts can occur beyond the borders of Protected Areas and within human settlements. This eclectic collection of essays explores this more inclusive form of conservation through case studies that focus on different species, different environments (whether urban or rural), and different social and political constituencies from local farming or fishing communities to the educated middle class to corporate interests and the state. The essays range from overfishing along the Indian shoreline to the fate of the Gangetic river dolphin and from Sarus Cranes in the rice fields of Uttar Pradesh to the enigmatic snow leopard in the Himalayas. They explore the pastures of the Deccan plateau and the plantations of the Western Ghats as well as the lakes of Bengaluru and urban forests in Delhi. In sum, they offer readers insight into the scope of inclusive conservation that adapts its principles and practices to human activity across a diversity of environments and contexts.

This book will be of interests to students and scholars of ecology and environmental studies, environmental history and sociology. It will also be of interest to nature and conservation specialists and activists as well as policy makers and planners.

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