Saving Forests, Protecting People? Environmental Conservation in Central America

John Schelhas and Max J. Pfeffer

"Schelhas and Pfeffer have written an engaging and unique book. Saving Forests, Protecting People? fills an important niche in our understanding of the intersection of global and local values in tropical forest conservation"
—Steven R. Brechin, Professor of Sociology, Syracuse University

"What happens when global concerns about conserving forests and wildlife run up against the reality that people rely on those resources to make a living? Schelhas and Pfeffer examine how rural communities in Costa Rica and Honduras think about forests and conservation--and they find that global discourses about the environment have reached the farthest corners of the earth, though local people reinterpret them to meet their needs. Saving Forests, Protecting People? brings these processes sharply into focus, which is essential if we are to find realistic solutions to the problems of conservation."
—David Kaimowitz, Ford Foundation

"Saving Forests, Protecting People? shines a welcome light on the changing attitudes of poor rural peoples toward newly created parks near their homes. It is a "must read" for anyone concerned about preserving biodiversity in the tropics."
—Thomas K. Rudel, Department of Sociology, Rutgers University

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Introduction: Parks and protected areas in the process of environmental globalization
  • Study Sites
  • Diverse cultural models to manage competing interests in natural resource use in Costa Rica
  • Forest conservation, park management, and value change in Honduras
  • Conclusion: Situating environmental values in a globalizing world
  • Appendices 1-5

Tropical forest conservation is attracting widespread public interest and helping to shape the ways in which environmental scientists and other groups approach global environmental issues. Schelhas and Pfeffer show that globally driven forest conservation efforts have had different results in different places, ranging from violent protest to the discovery of common ground between conservation programs and the various interests of local peoples. The authors examine the connections among local values, material needs, and environmental management regimes. Saving Forests, Protecting People? explores that difficult terrain where culture, the environment, and social policies meet.