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Challenges to conservation: land use change and local participation in the Al Reem Biosphere Reserve, West Qatar.

Sillitoe P, Alshawi AA, Al-Amir Hassan AK - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2010)

Bottom Line: We detail changes resulting with the move from nomadic to sedentary lifestyles: in land access, which now features tribal-state control, and herding strategies, which now feature migrant labour and depend on imported fodder and water, underwritten by the country's large gas and oil revenues.What are the implications of such changes for the participatory co-management of conservation areas?Do they imply turning the clock back to centrally managed approaches that seek to control access and local activities?

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Qatar University, Doha, Qatar. paul.sillitoe@durham.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
One response to humanity's unsustainable use of natural resources and consequent degradation, even destruction of the environment, is to establish conservation areas to protect Nature and preserve biodiversity at least in selected regions. In Qatar, the government has shown strong support for this approach, confronted by the environmental consequences of oil and gas extraction and rapid urban development, by designating about one-tenth of the country a conservation area. Located in the west of the peninsula, it comprises the Al Reem Reserve, subsequently declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Several approaches have figured in conservation, currently popular is co-management featuring participation of the local population, which recognises that people's activities often contribute to today's environment, with the promotion of bio-cultural diversity. However, these assumptions may not hold where rapid social and cultural change occurs, as in Qatar. We explore the implications of such change, notably in land use. We detail changes resulting with the move from nomadic to sedentary lifestyles: in land access, which now features tribal-state control, and herding strategies, which now feature migrant labour and depend on imported fodder and water, underwritten by the country's large gas and oil revenues. Current stocking arrangements - animals herded in much smaller areas than previously - are thought responsible for the degradation of natural resources. The place of animals, notably camels, in Qatari life, has also changed greatly, possibly further promoting overstocking. Many local people disagree. What are the implications of such changes for the participatory co-management of conservation areas? Do they imply turning the clock back to centrally managed approaches that seek to control access and local activities?

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Al Reem region.
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Figure 1: Al Reem region.

Mentions: The Government of Qatar has shown a strong commitment to conservation in its 2030 National Vision [6], where under the fourth development pillar, concerning the environment, it says that the State seeks 'to preserve and protect its unique environment and nurture the abundance of nature granted by God'. It has signalled the seriousness of its intent in declaring the Al Reem region, approximately 10% of Qatar's land area, a conservation reserve under the UNESCO Man and Biosphere [MAB] programme. The Reserve is situated in the north-west of the Qatar peninsula (see Figure 1); established by the Supreme Council for the Environment and Natural Reserves in 2005 - following declaration of its protected status by Emiri Decree 7 (2005) - it became a Biosphere in UNESCO's MAB programme in 2007 (UNESCO 2007 'Al-Reem Reserve: UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve Nomination File', submitted to The Supreme Council for the Environment and Natural Reserves, State of Qatar page 5), [7]. It lies within parts of both Jemailiya and Madinat Al Shamal Municipalities; the two towns of Jemailiya and Al Ghuwairiya are located on the highway that marks the Reserve's eastern boundary.


Challenges to conservation: land use change and local participation in the Al Reem Biosphere Reserve, West Qatar.

Sillitoe P, Alshawi AA, Al-Amir Hassan AK - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2010)

Al Reem region.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2987904&req=5

Figure 1: Al Reem region.
Mentions: The Government of Qatar has shown a strong commitment to conservation in its 2030 National Vision [6], where under the fourth development pillar, concerning the environment, it says that the State seeks 'to preserve and protect its unique environment and nurture the abundance of nature granted by God'. It has signalled the seriousness of its intent in declaring the Al Reem region, approximately 10% of Qatar's land area, a conservation reserve under the UNESCO Man and Biosphere [MAB] programme. The Reserve is situated in the north-west of the Qatar peninsula (see Figure 1); established by the Supreme Council for the Environment and Natural Reserves in 2005 - following declaration of its protected status by Emiri Decree 7 (2005) - it became a Biosphere in UNESCO's MAB programme in 2007 (UNESCO 2007 'Al-Reem Reserve: UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve Nomination File', submitted to The Supreme Council for the Environment and Natural Reserves, State of Qatar page 5), [7]. It lies within parts of both Jemailiya and Madinat Al Shamal Municipalities; the two towns of Jemailiya and Al Ghuwairiya are located on the highway that marks the Reserve's eastern boundary.

Bottom Line: We detail changes resulting with the move from nomadic to sedentary lifestyles: in land access, which now features tribal-state control, and herding strategies, which now feature migrant labour and depend on imported fodder and water, underwritten by the country's large gas and oil revenues.What are the implications of such changes for the participatory co-management of conservation areas?Do they imply turning the clock back to centrally managed approaches that seek to control access and local activities?

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Qatar University, Doha, Qatar. paul.sillitoe@durham.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
One response to humanity's unsustainable use of natural resources and consequent degradation, even destruction of the environment, is to establish conservation areas to protect Nature and preserve biodiversity at least in selected regions. In Qatar, the government has shown strong support for this approach, confronted by the environmental consequences of oil and gas extraction and rapid urban development, by designating about one-tenth of the country a conservation area. Located in the west of the peninsula, it comprises the Al Reem Reserve, subsequently declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Several approaches have figured in conservation, currently popular is co-management featuring participation of the local population, which recognises that people's activities often contribute to today's environment, with the promotion of bio-cultural diversity. However, these assumptions may not hold where rapid social and cultural change occurs, as in Qatar. We explore the implications of such change, notably in land use. We detail changes resulting with the move from nomadic to sedentary lifestyles: in land access, which now features tribal-state control, and herding strategies, which now feature migrant labour and depend on imported fodder and water, underwritten by the country's large gas and oil revenues. Current stocking arrangements - animals herded in much smaller areas than previously - are thought responsible for the degradation of natural resources. The place of animals, notably camels, in Qatari life, has also changed greatly, possibly further promoting overstocking. Many local people disagree. What are the implications of such changes for the participatory co-management of conservation areas? Do they imply turning the clock back to centrally managed approaches that seek to control access and local activities?

Show MeSH