Taylor & Francis Group

Liberalising environmental governance and the hazards of democratisation

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Democratising environmental governance is sometimes presented as if it would necessarily yield desirable environmental outcomes. This is in contradistinction to authoritarianism that is seen as inimical to sound biodiversity management. This paper examines the possibility that democratisation of environmental governance may not always produce the outcomes that are desirable by the conservationists. The tension between promise and liability embodied in democratisation of environmental governance is captured by the following quotations: The explosion of a non-governmental movement and a democratic society … is really fundamental to environment. (Michael Wright, US Sub-committee, 1996) Fortress conservation was an inherently authoritarian approach. By contrast, community conservation is undermined by much more democratic ideas; once the floodgate is opened the fortress may be swept away! (Adams & Hume, 1998, p. 23)

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