‘Of Turtles and Tactics: Conservation and Sustainable Community Development in San Francisco, Costa Rica.’
van Oudenhoven, Frederik J.W.
MetadataShow full item record
A question often faced by conservationists in developing countries is whether their efforts to protect endangered species will ever work if they do not also address human poverty. Sea turtles are a classic example, and the source of an ongoing confl ict between the (global) conservation movement and people who have relied on them as a food source for hundreds of years. Inspired by high poaching rates on an as yet unstudied sea turtle nesting beach on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica, this paper attempts to elucidate the role that conservation agencies can play in the protection of the animals through the development of alternative livelihoods for poachers in the nearby village. It is argued that an approach of community development is necessary to, fi rstly, ensure that poachers benefi t from renouncing their previous livelihoods and lift their ‘veto’ over conservation efforts and, secondly, create the social fabric required to successfully sustain individual livelihood or community-based conservation projects in the future. The paper combines a practical analysis of the village’s livelihoods with a more conceptual exploration, based on the theory of autopoiesis, of the process of community development and how that process may be ‘manipulated’ to create ecologically responsive communities.