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A History of Imagined Futures of the Ogasawara Islands

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Tyner, Colin
Conference: Commoners and the Changing Commons: Livelihoods, Environmental Security, and Shared Knowledge, the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Mt. Fuji, Japan
Conf. Date: June 3-7
Date: 2013
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8986
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): conservation
Abstract: "After almost a decade of campaigning, the Ogasawara Islands have become one of the newest members of Japan's growing list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in June 2011.1 Because of the high rates of species endemic to the islands and evidence of marine species evolving into terrestrial species, organizations interested in the conservation the islands ecosystems have worked tirelessly to stave off threats to the island environment. The most persistent of these threats to the islands biodiversity are the long standing resident populations of invasive species and the on-again-off-again proposal to have an airstrip built somewhere on the islands. UNESCO has marked both of these as dangerous to the islands ecosystems, and its world heritage site status. This tension between pro-conservation and pro-development social worlds dates back to the late-1960s, when former residents of the islands competed to influence the future of their development. Some rooted their vision of the development of the Ogasawara Islands in the past, assuming that the return of the islands to Japan would mean the return of land use practices that privileged industrial agriculture. Others engaged in metropolitan scientific communities saw the islands removal from the heavy pollution of central Tokyo as an opportunity to break from the past."

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