Towards an Explicit Justice Framing of the Social Impacts of Conservation
School of International Development, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom; Department of Zoology, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
This paper proposes that biodiversity conservation practice will benefit from assessment of environmental justice outcomes, especially in contexts of poverty and social marginalisation. Whilst there is an existing body of work that implicitly considers the justices and injustices arising from biodiversity conservation interventions, we suggest that a more explicit justice assessment might complement this work. We develop some general guidelines for such assessment, drawing on traditions of social and environmental justice, highlighting the importance of considering two types of justice outcome: distribution and recognition. We note the non-equivalence of these different justice values, implying that they cannot be traded-off against each other. We try out these guidelines through a case study of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. We find that the assessment helps us to identify intolerable social impacts of conservation, notably failures to adequately address the long-term impoverishment and domination of the indigenous Batwa people, and offers constructive insight for how conservation can better align with the need for environmental justice. ©Martin et al 2015.