Given our current climate crisis, rapid biodiversity decline and habitat loss, we need now more than ever effective conservation design based on a robust and comprehensive evaluation of the state of our planet. Instead, conservation often occurs in spaces of intense conflict, heightened distrust, and the marginalisation of local ad indigenous communities.
This is not only a question of human rights; tensions between conservationists, communities and states leads to disengagement from collaboration and lack of information-sharing - information that is critical for us to accurately analyse and tackle this global crisis we have on our hands.
This project starts small: can we build a toolkit of projects and initiatives that promote knowledge-sharing in conservation spaces? Can we show the social, cultural, historical, and SCIENTIFIC value of local knowledge? How do we reconcile sustainable resource use with ensuring local and indigenous communities maintain the customary practices that allow them to maintain this specialist knowledge?
All of the initiatives in this collection of projects attempt to do one of the following:
Countermapping Cockpit is an initiative borne from the PhD research of Lydia Gibson (doctoral student of Human Ecology at UCL, Department of Anthropology). Working with the community to understand the impact of conservation efforts on indigenous identity and resource use, it became clear that the absence of indigenous participation in conservation planning adversely affected both its accuracy and effectiveness. It also became evident that there were a number of ways to enfranchise and empower indigenous voices to safeguard their future as well as that of the forest and, ultimately, our planet.
Countermapping Cockpit is now a collaboration between Lydia Gibson and the newly formed community NGO Maroon Conservation Project (owned and managed by Maroon villagers Kenroy Cawley and Oral White)