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The Political Ecology of Conservation

Research explores the politics of land reservation for conservation and the social impacts of conservation policy (Adams and Hutton 2007). In the 1980s and 1990s, the idea of a ‘community’ approach to conservation became very popular (Adams and Hulme 2001a), but enthusiasm for it waned when it proved more difficult than at first hoped (Adams and Hulme 2001b, Hutton et al. 2005).

This work began with research on Community Conservation in Africa, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (with D. Hulme, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, K. Kangwana, African Wildlife Foundation, Nairobi, and M. Murphree, Centre for Applied Social Sciences, University of Zimbabwe). Papers arising from this work include Adams and Hulme 2001a, 2001b, Adams and Infield 2003). More recent wlork inlcues Hutton et al. (2005), Redford et al. (2006), Adams (2007), Upton et al., (2008).

A related area of work has addressed institutions and natural resource management. This has been a collaboration with Bhaskar Vira (Policy Implications of Current Knowledge on CPR Management, India Tanzania, Zimbabwe). This project was funded by DFID (the Department for International Development (DFID), under its Natural Resources Systems Programme (NRSP). It was based on a collaboration with the University of Zimbabwe (Professor Marshall Murphree), the University of Dar es Salaam (Professor Issa Shivji) and the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi (Dr. Kanchen Chopra).


  • Adams, W.M. and Hulme, D. (2001a) ‘Conservation and Communities: Changing Narratives, Policies and Practices in African Conservation’, pp. 9-23 in D. Hulme and M. Murphree (Eds.) African Wildlife and Livelihoods: the promise and performance of community conservation, James Currey, London.
  • Adams, W.M. and Hulme, D. (2001b) ‘If community conservation is the answer, what is the question?’, Oryx 35 (3): 193-200.
  • Adams, W.M. and Infield, M. (2003) ‘Who is on the gorilla’s payroll? Claims on tourist revenue from a Ugandan National Park’, World Development 31(1): 177-190.
  • Adams, W.M. Aveling, R., Brockington, D., Dickson, B., Elliott, J., Hutton, J., Roe, D., Vira, B., Wolmer, W. (2004) ‘Biodiversity Conservation and the Eradication of Poverty‘, Science 306: 1146-1149
  • Hutton, J. Adams, W.M. and Murombedzi, J.C. (2005) ‘Back to the barriers?: Changing narratives in biodiversity conservation’, Forum for Development Studies 32, 2: 341-37
  • Redford, K.G., Robinson, J.A., Adams, W.M. (2006) ‘Parks as shibboleths’, Conservation Biology 20(1): 1-2.
  • Upton, C., Ladle, R., Hulme, D., Jiang, T., Brockington, D. and Adams, W.M. (2008) ‘Are poverty and protected area establishment linked at a national scale?’ Oryx 44(1): doi:10.1017/S0030605307001044, Published online by Cambridge University Press 02 Nov 2007
  • Adams, W.M. and Hutton, J. (2007) ‘People, parks and poverty: political ecology and biodiversity conservation‘, Conservation and Society 5 (2): 147-183.