(Re)making space for kiwi: beyond ‘fortress conservation’ in Northland

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<ul><li><p>Research Articlenzg_1181 105..123</p><p>(Re)making space for kiwi: beyond fortressconservation in Northland</p><p>Lyndsay Blue1 and Greg Blunden21School of Environment, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019,Auckland, New Zealand, 2New Zealand Kiwi Foundation, PO Box 648, Kerikeri,New Zealand</p><p>Abstract: Mainstream conservation has been long dominated globally by the pro-tected area paradigm. This approach has been widely challenged in recent years, andnew conservation initiatives have emerged. The situation is mirrored in New Zealand,where ongoing biodiversity loss has prompted reappraisal. Within this context, wehighlight the plight of kiwi, focusing on Northland and efforts there to (re)make spacefor this iconic bird which is at risk of extinction. While the state has primarilyresponded by fortifying islands on public conservation land, Far North communitiesare working in a variety of ways and localities, both within and beyond the fortress,to secure a future for the peoples bird.</p><p>Key words: Bay of Islands, community conservation, kiwi, Northland.</p><p>Introduction</p><p>The protected area paradigm has dominatedconservation internationally since the 1870s.Founded on a dualistic view of humans as sepa-rate from wild nature and characterised bystate ownership and top-down scientific man-agement, fortress conservation has sought toprotect nature from human interference (Wells&amp; Brandon 1992; Adams &amp; Hulme 2001). Pro-tected areas have flourished as a key compo-nent of mainstream conservation (Brockingtonet al. 2008). Beginning as a means to preservescenery, they have become . . . a primaryweapon in the conservation arsenal (McNeely2008, p. 104). They now occupy c. 11% of theworlds land (Stevens 1997) and are a powerful. . . way of seeing, understanding, and (re)pro-ducing the world (West et al. 2006, p.252).</p><p>In recent years, however, the protected areaapproach has been widely contested by both</p><p>social and natural scientists. Critique hasfocused on social and environmental justice,biodiversity objectives and conservation effi-cacy, interwoven with interrogation of thephilosophical underpinnings of protected areas.From different starting points, critique has con-verged on the desirability of reconnectingpeople and wild nature, while balancing eco-logical concerns. The challenge is to placehumans and human-made landscapes into thepicture. This requires a different approach, onethat involves individuals and communities aspart of a broader participatory turn. The aim isto give people all kinds of agency in themaking of economies, ecologies and natures(Hinchcliffe et al. 2007). New debates haveemerged over the relative virtues of top-downand bottom-up conservation initiatives.</p><p>New Zealands kiwi (Apteryx spp.) are on thebrink of extinction on the mainland. In thispaper, we investigate the extent to which new</p><p>Note about the authors: Lyndsay Blue is a Senior Tutor in the School of Environment at The University ofAuckland. Greg Blunden lives in the Far North, specialising in legal protection and biodiversity managementon private land, and operating the New Zealand Kiwi Foundation.</p><p>E-mail: l.blue@auckland.ac.nz</p><p>New Zealand Geographer (2010) 66, 105123</p><p> 2010 The AuthorsJournal compilation 2010 The New Zealand Geographical Society</p><p>doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7939.2010.01181.x</p></li><li><p>geographies of community kiwi conservation inNorthland have diverged from the fortressconservation approach in response to thisthreat. We review New Zealands succession ofconservation responses to biodiversity loss,highlighting the predominant national pro-tected area framework and evolving institu-tional and resourcing arrangements forbiodiversity protection. Responding to calls forgeographers to reverse our neglect of wildlife(Whatmore &amp; Thorne 1998), we argue that dif-ferent ways of imagining and practising conser-vation are emerging from community and aremaking a positive difference to survival of kiwiin the Far North. While recognising the tempo-ral and spatial contingencies of this success andthe particular significance of the kiwis iconicstatus, we point to the wider potential of thischange in attitude to conservation. We empha-sise that such conservation initiatives extendbeyond a response to biodiversity decline toreshape place, and indeed region in the North-land case.</p><p>Wilderness imaginaries,conservation, and</p><p>the community turn</p><p>Critique of protected area approaches hasemerged from different quarters. Much socialcommentary has been concerned with socialand environmental justice, particularly theeffects of displacement on indigenous peoples.An extensive literature has explored the social,economic and political impacts of protectedareas (e.g. West et al. 2006), prompting calls forrevised conservation approaches that incorpo-rate community participation (Stevens 1997).The challenge is to supplant notions of partici-pation that see local peoples invited to engagein protected area planning and management tovarying degrees, as part of wider developmentefforts, and imagine more genuine localcontrol.</p><p>Natural scientists have focused primarily onthe failure of protected areas to halt biodiver-sity decline (McNeely 2008). In part, suchfailure has been attributed to institutional andresourcing problems which constrain the effec-tiveness of protected areas, rendering manypaper parks (Brandon et al. 1998). In part, itreflects the growing realisation that the pro-</p><p>tected area approach ignores the considerablebiodiversity and critical ecosystem processesbeyond reserve boundaries. Conservationbiologists have thus turned attention to themanagement of intervening space, advocatingan integrated sustainability approach to conser-vation and production space (Mitchell &amp; Craig2000): . . . a more sensible form of human rela-tions with the land across the entire planet(McNeely 2008, p. 106).This approach has beenendorsed by the International Union forConservation of Nature move to create moreflexible protected area categories. Somecommentators have gone further to label fenceand fine strategies ineffectual (Wells &amp;Brandon 1992), while, in practice, many parkagencies have sought biodiversity benefits fromgenerating improved relationships with localpeoples and enhanced community participa-tion (Stevens 1997).</p><p>While conservation biology has dominatedresponses to global concern about biodiversitysince the mid-1980s (Meine et al. 2006), Wolchet al. (2003) describe the emergence of abroader discourse about animals and society inthe late 20th and early 21st centuries, partlyprompted by . . . growing concern regardingenvironmental degradation, habitat loss andspecies endangerment (p.187). In his seminalwork, Cronon (1995) challenges the fundamen-tal notion of wilderness, arguing that:</p><p>The wilderness dualism tends to cast any useas ab-use, and thereby denies us a middleground in which responsible use and non-usemight attain some kind of balanced, sustain-able relationship. (p. 85)</p><p>Elaborating on the middle ground, where welive and make our homes, Cronon draws atten-tion to . . . the wildness in our own backyards. . . the nature that is all around us if only wehave eyes to see it (p. 86), and articulates hisprincipal concern that wilderness, the BigOutside, teaches us to be dismissive of suchplaces.</p><p>Integration of conservation and productionspace, advocated by conservation biologists, isthus again emphasised but framed differently:</p><p>If wildness can stop being (just) out thereand start being (also) in here, if it can start</p><p>L. Blue and G. Blunden106</p><p> 2010 The AuthorsJournal compilation 2010 The New Zealand Geographical Society</p></li><li><p>being as humane as it is natural, then perhapswe can get on with the unending task ofstruggling to live rightly in the world notjust in the garden, not just in the wilderness,but in the home that encompasses them both.(Cronon 1995, p. 90)</p><p>Geographers Whatmore and Thorne (1998)add that:</p><p>. . . the futures of earth creatures (includinghumans) lie not in fortifying the utopianspace/time of a pristine wilderness, but on theinside, where the everyday worlds of people,plants and animals are already in the processof being mixed up. (p. 437)</p><p>In practice, Adams and Hulme (2001) contendthat disenchantment with fortress conserva-tion has been so profound that there has been. . . a significant shift in the dominant globalnarrative of conservation. The new conserva-tion narrative is community conservation(p.193). This notion, however, is problematic.The idea is to promote social justice and moreeffective conservation by empowering localgroups (Brockington et al. 2008). This raisesquestions of how much control, whose is it tocede, into whose hands, and under what condi-tions, and the meaning of community.</p><p>Agrawal and Gibson (1999) challenge preoc-cupation with the mythic integrated commu-nity, instead depicting communities ascharacterised by internal differences and per-meated with networks and external linkagesthat may make it difficult to see where . . .local conservation begins and the external(that helps construct the local) ends (p. 637).They argue that greater attention should focuson:</p><p>. . . the multiple actors with multiple intereststhat make up communities, the processesthrough which these actors interrelate, and,especially, the institutional arrangementsthat structure their interactions. (p. 636)</p><p>Further, control is not simply transferred froman active state to passive communities(Agrawal and Gibson 1999). Community actorsare active agents who seek their own differentand dynamic interests in conservation, stitch</p><p>together alliances of interests, and may changetheir interests as new opportunities emerge. AsBrockington et al. (2008) observe, communityconservation may distribute fortune and mis-fortune unequally.</p><p>A brief history of conservation inNew Zealand</p><p>Human settlement of Aotearoa/New Zealandheralded rapid biodiversity loss due to theinterwoven effects of forest clearance throughfelling and burning, wildlife predation and com-petition from humans and introduced species.1</p><p>Early Polynesian voyagers introduced the kur(dog) and kiore (Pacific rat) (McGlone 1989)and, from 1769, Europeans introduced 34 othermammals most of which became pests (Craiget al. 2000). These included other dogs and rats,along with cats, pigs, brushtail possums andmustelids (ferrets, stoats and weasels) (Star &amp;Lochhead 2002).</p><p>A process started by early Polynesian settlersaccelerated following European arrivals(Glasby 1986). In less than one thousand years,native forest cover was reduced from c. 85%(McGlone 1989) to c. 22% of the land area(Glasby 1986), and 40% of pre-human birdspecies became extinct (Craig et al. 2000).Pryde and Cocklin (1998, p. 87) describe NewZealand as . . . one of the most biologicallytransformed countries on earth. This processhas been well documented (e.g. Clout &amp;Saunders 1995; Glasby 1986; McGlone 1989;Wynn 2002).</p><p>Despite the pioneering ethic of early Euro-pean settlers, the decline of forest and indig-enous wildlife evoked concern from the 1870s(Young 2004). Conservation responses focusedvariously on wise use, soil and water protec-tion, scientific interest, scenery preservationand wildlife protection (Roche 2002; Star 2002;Star &amp; Lochhead 2002). A network of state-owned protected areas eventually emerged,separating humans (production) from nature(conservation) and primarily protecting indig-enous habitat (Pryde &amp; Cocklin 1998; Primdahl&amp; Swaffield 2004).</p><p>Some indigenous bird species received adhoc protection from human exploitation from1872, and from 1891 some were translocated tooffshore island refuges where pest eradication</p><p>(Re)making space for kiwi 107</p><p> 2010 The AuthorsJournal compilation 2010 The New Zealand Geographical Society</p></li><li><p>was attempted (Star &amp; Lochhead 2002). It wasdifficult, however, to undertake pest control onthe mainland, where stoats and weaselsremained protected until 1903. Most pests wereinitially considered useful for other purposes(Kennedy &amp; Perkins 2000).</p><p>Indigenous nature became linked tonational identity from the early 20th century,with protection of scenery, flora and fauna jus-tified on the grounds of their New Zealand-ness (Star &amp; Lochhead 2002). In response topublic lobbying, the government pursued apolicy of protected fauna management: theWildlife Service was established in 1945 and theWildlife Act 1953 gave precedence to protec-tion of indigenous fauna over introducedspecies (Kennedy &amp; Perkins 2000). Until the1960s, however, influential Wildlife Service staffprioritised habitat protection and failed to rec-ognise mammalian predator threats to avifauna(Young 2004).</p><p>In 1987, the Department of Conservation(DoC) was established as the principal conser-vation agency, assuming responsibility for man-aging public conservation lands and protectingindigenous wildlife wherever it lives (Kennedy&amp; Perkins 2000). DoC now manages 8.59million ha under legal protection, 32.8% ofNew Zealands land area (DoC 2009a). Off-shore island refuges play an ongoing wildlifeconservation role but are limited in numberand size, the main 10 comprising only 8,300 ha(0.03% of the nations land) (Pryde &amp; Cocklin1998).</p><p>Other agencies foster voluntary legal protec-tion of private land. From 1977, landownersbegan protecting natural areas through theQueen Elizabeth II National Trust (QEII),advocated by farmers keen to defend privateproperty rights (Davis 1997). By June 2009,3,189 covenants were registered and 524approved, jointly covering 109,948 ha (QEII2009). Nga Whenua Rahui encouraged volun-tary protection of indigenous habitat on cus-tomary Maori land from 1991, covenantingc. 146,800 ha nationally (MfE 2007).</p><p>Despite these varied efforts, ongoing biodi-versity loss remains the countrys greatest envi-ronmental problem (Taylor et al. 1997), andprotected fauna management is one of DoCsmost pressing concerns (Kennedy &amp; Perkins2000). The strategic focus on particular areas</p><p>has not halted biodiversity decline (Green &amp;Clarkson 2005). The existence of indigenousbiodiversity beyond public conservation landcomplicates matters. Different strategies havebeen developed and initiatives adopted inresponse, involving different mixes of privateand public landholding, different approaches tomanagement, different (and sometimes com-peting) emphases on legal habitat protectionand pest management (Clout 2001; Clout &amp;Saunders 1995), and different responses to theprotected area concept. While the ResourceManagement Act 1991 (RMA) legislated forthe sustainable management of natural andphysical resources, it did so by decentralisingresponsibilities to regional and local govern-ment and further complicating conservationpolitics, policy making and practices. It hasopened contest over conservation approachesto national, regional and local government,non-government organisations (NGOs), corpo-rate agents, communities and individuals.</p><p>The idea of the protected area generallyremains central to conservation imaginariesand practices. At one extreme, Pryde andCocklin (1998) contend that miniaturization ofnature through . . . new, sm...</p></li></ul>