News | 5 reasons why we must question the militarisation of conservation

A new paper in Biological Conservation critically analysing the militarisation of conservation

A new article from Rosaleen Duffy, Francis Massé, Emile Smidt, Esther Marijnen, Bram Büscher, Judith Verweijen, Maano Ramutsindela, Trishant Simlaie, Laure Joanny and Elizabeth Lunstrum has just been published in Biological Conservation. The article, ‘Why we must question the militarisation of conservation’ is fully open access and you can download a copy here.

Calls for urgent action to stop poaching have generated militarisation of conservation as a potential solution. Conservationists and others who advocate for this position do not adequately consider the long-term implications of this shift. This paper critically analyses the militarisation of conservation and identifies the core themes emerging from 80+ peer reviewed papers. We found that there are 5 key reasons why we need to question militarised conservation:

  • militarisation tackles the symptoms, not the causes, of poaching
  • it often produces additional stresses for rangers
  • it is a socially unjust approach
  • it can be driven by the search for new markets for technology or military goods and services, diverting scarce funds away from other conservation activities
  • it can lead to poor conservation outcomes by alienating communities whose support is needed for long term success

There are no simple solutions. In order to conserve species and develop socially just and sustainable strategies, there is a need for critical, innovative, and often uncomfortable thinking. Building effective alternative approaches relies on recognizing the negative effects of militarisation and its broader criticisms.  Failure to do so will make things worse for the people involved and is likely to translate into poor conservation outcomes.