Conservation and Wealth Asymmetries among East African Pastoralists

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"Controversy exists among anthropologists, conservation biologists and development workers as to whether the concept of the 'ecologically noble savage' is a myth. Central to this debate are the problems of how to identify conservationist behavior and the issue of whether sound management practices of common property are likely to evolve. While social scientists have documented instances where restraint over the use of resources occurs, those who adopt an evolutionary perspective are challenged to identify the selective mechanisms whereby such altruistic conservation acts might be maintained in a population. Here a game theoretical approach is used to analyze the case of pastoralist grazing reserves. It is demonstrated that under some conditions, conservation can be the result of narrow self-interest and there is no collective action problem. However, the range of these conditions is much broader for wealthy individuals and thus, the wealthy may also find it advantageous to coerce others into conserving. "
IASC, common pool resources, pastoralism, game theory, conservation--theory, collective action--theory, conflict resolution--theory, heterogeneity