Warfare in Biodiversity Hotspots

Authors

  • THOR HANSON,

    1. Human Ecosystems Study Group, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-1133, U.S.A., email thor@rockisland.com
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  • THOMAS M. BROOKS,

    1. Conservation International, 2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 500, Arlington, VA 22202, U.S.A.
    2. World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna 4031, The Philippines
    3. School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart TAS 7001, Australia
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  • GUSTAVO A. B. DA FONSECA,

    1. Natural Resources, Global Environment Facility, 1818 H Street NW, G 6-602, Washington, D.C. 20433, U.S.A.
    2. Departamento de Zoología, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG 31270, Brazil
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  • MICHAEL HOFFMANN,

    1. IUCN/SSC – CI/CABS Biodiversity Assessment Unit, c/o Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, Conservation International, 2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 500, Arlington, VA 22202, U.S.A.
    2. IUCN Species Programme, IUCN – International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Rue Mauverney, 1196 Gland, Switzerland
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  • JOHN F. LAMOREUX,

    1. IUCN/SSC – CI/CABS Biodiversity Assessment Unit, c/o Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, Conservation International, 2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 500, Arlington, VA 22202, U.S.A.
    2. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, 210 Nagle Hall, College Station, TX 77843, U.S.A.
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  • GARY MACHLIS,

    1. Human Ecosystems Study Group, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-1133, U.S.A., email thor@rockisland.com
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  • CRISTINA G. MITTERMEIER,

    1. International League of Conservation Photographers, c/o Conservation International, 2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 500, Arlington, VA 22202, U.S.A.
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  • RUSSELL A. MITTERMEIER,

    1. Conservation International, 2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 500, Arlington, VA 22202, U.S.A.
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  • JOHN D. PILGRIM

    1. BirdLife International in Indochina, N6/2 + 3, Lane 25, Lang Ha Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
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Abstract

Abstract: Conservation efforts are only as sustainable as the social and political context within which they take place. The weakening or collapse of sociopolitical frameworks during wartime can lead to habitat destruction and the erosion of conservation policies, but in some cases, may also confer ecological benefits through altered settlement patterns and reduced resource exploitation. Over 90% of the major armed conflicts between 1950 and 2000 occurred within countries containing biodiversity hotspots, and more than 80% took place directly within hotspot areas. Less than one-third of the 34 recognized hotspots escaped significant conflict during this period, and most suffered repeated episodes of violence. This pattern was remarkably consistent over these 5 decades. Evidence from the war-torn Eastern Afromontane hotspot suggests that biodiversity conservation is improved when international nongovernmental organizations support local protected area staff and remain engaged throughout the conflict. With biodiversity hotspots concentrated in politically volatile regions, the conservation community must maintain continuous involvement during periods of war, and biodiversity conservation should be incorporated into military, reconstruction, and humanitarian programs in the world's conflict zones.

Abstract

Resumen: Los esfuerzos de conservación son tan sustentables como el contexto social y político en que se llevan a cabo. El debilitamiento o colapso de los marcos sociopolíticos durante la guerra pueden llevar a la destrucción de hábitat y la erosión de las políticas de conservación, pero en algunos casos puede también conferir beneficios ecológicos debido a la alteración de los patrones de asentamiento y reducción en la explotación de recursos. Más de 90% de los conflictos armados entre 1950 y 2000 ocurrieron en países que contienen sitios de importancia para la biodiversidad, y más de 80% se llevaron a cabo directamente en áreas de importancia para la biodiversidad. Menos de un tercio de los 34 sitios de importancia para la biodiversidad reconocidos escaparon de conflictos significativos durante este período, y la mayoría sufrieron episodios de violencia repetidos. Este patrón fue sorprendentemente consistente en estas cinco décadas. La evidencia del sitio Afromontano Oriental devastado por la guerra sugiere que la conservación de sitios de importancia para la biodiversidad mejora cuando organizaciones no gubernamentales internacionales mantienen personal local en las áreas protegidas y permanecen involucradas durante el conflicto. Con la ubicación de los sitios de importancia para la biodiversidad en regiones volátiles políticamente, la comunidad de conservación debe mantener un involucramiento continuo durante los períodos de guerra, y la conservación de la biodiversidad debería incorporarse en programas militares, de reconstrucción y humanitarios en las zonas de conflicto.

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