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Reclaiming Nature

Reclaiming Nature

James K. Boyce | Sunita Narain | Elizabeth A. Stanton


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In ‘Reclaiming Nature’, leading environmental thinkers from across the globe explore the relationship between human activities and the natural.  This is a bold and comprehensive text of major interest to both students of the environment and professionals involved in policy-making.

In ‘Reclaiming Nature’, leading environmental thinkers from across the globe explore the relationship between human activities and the natural world. The authors draw inspiration and lessons from diverse experiences ranging from community-based fishery and forestry management to innovative strategies for combating global warming.  They advance a compelling new vision of environmentalism, founded on the link between the struggle to reclaim nature and the struggle for social justice. This book advances three core propositions: first, humans can and do have positive as well as negative effects on the natural environment.  By restoring degraded ecosystems and engaging in co-evolutionary processes, people can add value to nature's wealth.  Second, every person has an inalienable right to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment. These are not privileges to be awarded on the basis of political power, nor commodities to be allocated on the basis of purchasing power -- they are fundamental human rights. Third, low-income communities are not the root of the problem.  Rather they are the heart of the solution.  In cities and the countryside across the world, ordinary people are forging a vibrant new environmentalism that is rooted in the defense of their lives and livelihoods.

James K. Boyce directs the Political Economy Research Institute’s Program on Development, Peacebuilding, and the Environment.

Sunita Narain is currently director of the Centre for Science and Environment and publisher of the fortnightly magazine ‘Down to Earth’.

Elizabeth A. Stanton is a Lecturer in Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

'A refreshing liberation from the alluring half-truths of conventional economics and public policy.' —David Bollier, Editor, ‘’ and author of ‘Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth’

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Front Matter\r 1
Half Title\r 1
Series Page\r 2
Title\r 3
Copyright\r 4
Contents\r 5
List of Figures and Tables\r 7
Acknowledgements\r 9
Introduction\r 11
Notes\r 28
References\r 29
Main Body\r 31
Part I: Adding Value \r 31
Chapter 1. The Blessing of the Commons: Small-Scale Fisheries, Community Property Rights and Coastal Natural Assets, by John Kurien\r 33
Introduction\r 33
Natural Assets of the Oceans and Seas\r 34
Part I: From Community Rights to Open Access\r 37
Part II: From Open Access to Community Rights\r 46
Conclusion\r 57
Notes\r 60
References\r 60
Chapter 2. Natural Resource Management and Poverty Alleviation in Mountain Areas, by Narpat S. Jodha\r 65
Introduction\r 65
Past and Present Approaches to Natural Resource Management\r 69
Lessons for Rebuilding Natural Assets\r 74
Recent Initiatives in Community Forest Management: A Critique\r 85
Conclusion\r 92
References\r 94
Chapter 3. Harvesting the Rain: Fighting Ecological Poverty Through Participatory Democracy, by Sunita Narain and Anil Agarwal\r 99
Introduction\r 99
Sukhomajri: Holistic Watershed Management\r 100
Ralegan Siddhi: Marshalling Government Resources\r 106
Alwar: Bringing Rivers Back to Life\r 109
Jhabua: When Governement Learns\r 111
Principles for Rebuilding Natural Assets \r 113
Conclusions\r 116
Note\r 118
References\r 118
Chapter 4. Net Benefits: The Ecological Restoration of Inland Fisheries in Bangladesh, by M. Mokhlesur Rahman and Stephen F. Minkin\r 121
Inland Fisheries in Bangladesh\r 121
Community-based Ecological Restoration\r 125
Project Benefits\r 128
Human Benefits\r 130
Bejurnala Beel\r 132
Conclusion\r 133
References\r 134
Part II: Democratizing Access\r 135
Chapter 5. Land Reform and Sustainable Development, by James K. Boyce, Peter Rosset and Elizabeth A. Stanton \r 137
Introduction\r 137
Varieties of Land Reform\r 138
Land Reform and the East Asian 'Miracle'\r 140
Land Reform from 'Below': Brazil's MST\r 143
Land Reform and Poverty Reduction\r 145
Land Reform and the Environment\r 149
Conclusions\r 153
Notes\r 154
References\r 156
Chapter 6. Extractive Reserves: Building Natural Assets in the Brazilian Amazon, by Anthony Hall\r 161
Introduction\r 161
People and Nature in Amazonia\r 162
The History and Struggle of Brazil's Rubber Tappers\r 169
Current Challenges Facing Extractive Reserves\r 172
Conclusion: The Future of Extractive Reserves\r 183
Notes\r 185
References\r 186
Chapter 7. Mining Rights and Community Rights: Poverty Amidst Wealth, by Karyn Keenan, Jose De Echave and Ken Traynor\r 191
Introduction\r 191
Mineral Assets and the Poor\r 192
The Impacts of Mining\r 193
Enhancing the Natural Assets of Mining Communities\r 195
Conclusions\r 207
Notes\r 208
References\r 209
Chapter 8. Natural Assets and Participatory Forest Management in West Africa, by Kojo Sebastian Amanor\r 213
Introduction\r 213
Forests and People in West Africa\r 215
Forest Management in the Colonial Era\r 221
Participatory Forest Management\r 223
Inventing Communities\r 232
Alternative Strategies for Building Forest Assets\r 234
Conclusion\r 237
Acknowledgements\r 238
Notes\r 238
References\r 239
Part III: Capturing Benefits\r 245
Chapter 9. Compensation for Environmental Services and Rural Communities: Lessons from the Americas, by Herman Rosa, Deborah Barry, Susan Kandel and Leopoldo Dimas\r 247
Introduction\r 247
Why Focus on Poor Communities? \r 248
Key Issues\r 249
Experiences in the Americas\r 256
Conclusions\r 265
Notes\r 266
References\r 266
Chapter 10. Certification Systems as Tools for Natural Asset Building, by Michael E. Conroy\r 269
Introduction\r 269
Emergence of 'Certification Systems'\r 270
Common Elements of 'Certification Systems', and Reasons for Corporate Participation\r 271
Certification, Asset-building and Poverty Alleviation\r 273
Experienced in Certified Forestry\r 275
Experiences with Certified Fair Trade Coffee\r 281
Ecotourism Certification\r 286
Certification of Mining Operations\r 288
Summary of Potential Impacts of Cerification on Poverty\r 290
Responses to the Challenges\r 291
Conclusions\r 293
Notes\r 294
References\r 294
Chapter 11. Wastes as Assets: Limits and Potentials, by Eugenio M. Gonzales\r 299
Introduction\r 299
Materials Conservation and the Poor\r 300
The Philippine Urban Context\r 306
Making a Living in Payatas\r 307
From Scavengers to Entrepeneurs\r 310
Recycling for Environmental Protection and Poverty Reduction\r 313
What Is to Be Done? \r 314
Notes\r 319
References\r 319
Chapter 12. Community Rights and Wildlife Stewardship: Zimbabwe's Campfire Programme, by James C. Murombedzi\r 323
Communal Tenure\r 323
CAMPFIRE: Devolution of Resource Management?\r 325
Wildlife Management Benefits\r 326
CAMPFIRE-induced Immigration\r 327
Employment in the Safari Industry\r 329
Conclusions\r 330
References\r 332
Part IV: Defending the Commons\r 335
Chapter 13. International Environmental Justice: Building the Natural Assets of the World's Poor, by Krista Harper and S. Ravi Rajan \r 337
Introduction\r 337
The Environment and Inequality among Countries\r 339
The Environment and Inequality within Countries\r 342
Communities are Organizing for Environmental Justice\r 346
Conclusions\r 354
Notes\r 354
References\r 354
Chapter 14. Environmental Justice: Reflections from the United States, by Manuel Pastor\r 361
Introduction\r 361
Environmental Justice in the United States Context\r 362
Environmental Justice and Assets\r 373
Lessons from the US Environmental Justice Movement\r 379
Notes\r 382
References\r 383
Chapter 15. Equitable Carbon Revenue Distribution Under an International Emissions Trading Regime, by Nathan E. Hultman and Daniel M. Kammen\r 389
Introduction\r 389
From Sink to Asset: Approaches to Managing Carbon Storage\r 390
Expected Characteristics of the International Carbon Market\r 392
Distribution of Carbon Revenues\r 398
Perspectives on the Distribution Options\r 402
Conclusions\r 405
Acknowledgements\r 407
Notes\r 407
References\r 408
Chapter 16. Greenhouse Justice: An Entitlement Framework for Managing the Global Atmospheric Commons, by Sunita Narain and Matthew Riddle\r 411
Prologue\r 411
Introduction\r 412
Stabilizing the Earth's Climate\r 413
Renewable Energy Technologies \r 415
Towards a Framework for Equitable Entitlements\r 417
Entitlements and the Transition to Renewables\r 420
Entitlements within Countries\r 421
Conclusion\r 422
Notes\r 422
References\r 423
End Matter\r 425
About the Contributors\r 425
Index\r 431