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Beyond connectivity: An exploration of expert perspectives on conservation corridors

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Corridors and connectivity have become prominent ideas within international conservation discourse. There is a considerable body of literature on the practice and impact of corridors, identifying various social, ecological and conceptual challenges with their implementation. However, there is relatively little inquiry into the perspectives of professional conservation stakeholders who are instrumental in interpreting policy and enacting corridors on the ground. Such research is needed to help understand why corridors often play out in unexpected ways while seemingly enjoying near universal support from the conservation community. Drawing on the concepts of the boundary object and discourse coalitions, this study uses Q methodology to discern three professional perspectives on conservation corridors in Tanzania: we name these Righteous Corridors, Imposed Corridors, and Instrumental Corridors. Conservationists aligning with each of these perspectives see the corridor differently: as a remnant of a formerly wild Tanzania, as an unimaginative and ultimately unhelpful manifestation of ‘business as usual’ conservation, and as an imperfect but important tool for achieving people-friendly ecological connectivity. The three different perspectives share an ambivalence towards notions of nature and naturalness which are not adequately expressed or made explicit within mainstream conservation discourse on corridors. In fact, debate on superficial elements of corridor management detract from these fundamental questions on corridor meaning and materiality, fuelling the growing hegemony of the corridor. As the corridor strategy gathers momentum, it becomes increasingly important that differences in perspective are not hidden within false consensus, but rather openly and honestly debated to avoid foreclosure of possible alternatives.



Biodiversity conservation, Boundary objects, Corridors, Discourse, Q method, Tanzania

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Elsevier BV
ESRC (1799009)
ESRC (ES/J500033/1)