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Commoditization of Nature: Conservation, Preservation and International Regimes

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Herring, Ronald J.
Conference: Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association
Location: Chicago, IL
Conf. Date: August 31-September 2
Date: 1995
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5769
Sector: Global Commons
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): timber
international relations
tragedy of the commons
Abstract: "Nature policy typically involves a struggle with the market, which over time tends to extend commoditization to virtually everything ; regulatory logic limiting market dynamics has been a mainstay of environmental protection. Once 'nature' becomes conceptually commoditized as 'natural resources,' conservation competes with development as a frame for defining interests in the biophysical world. The science of ecology later adds the more demanding concept of preservation as a third competing interest. In international negotiations addressed to global commons issues, nation-states represent themselves as agents of societies and as holders of rights in nature. Both claims are typically problematic. States' capacity to assume such obligations is a function of the tenuous and contested nature of their domestic claims. Attempts to exert power through command-and-control systems often further delegitimize the state vis-a - vis users of natural systems and reduce the possiblity of governance. This paper considers three elements of the international nature regime — the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the International Tropical Timber Agreement and the World Heritage Convention — and their dynamics in India."

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