Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. J. Terrence McCabe

Second Advisor

Dr. Herbert H. Covert

Third Advisor

Dr. Steven Leigh

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Dale L. Miller

Abstract

This thesis explores how advances in biodiversity conservation and planetary health programs can be balanced with the protection of fundamental human rights. Specifically, I challenge that current applications of conservation initiatives that include accessibility to land for rural communities living in close proximity to protected areas are insufficient. Human influence on ecological processes stigmatizes land use of local rural communities living near protected areas. I aim to understand how scholars and authorities at research institutions and conservation organizations in Tanzania can find balance between "people first" and "conservation first" initiatives. The introduction of natural parks often overlooks fundamental rights of the local communities who depend on the land in Tanzania; however, the creation of these parks significantly increases the survival rate of native wildlife. Conservationists’ and social scientists’ approaches to and understandings of conservation should not ignore the needs of one another and of native and local people who inhabit lands near protected areas. I argue that both social scientists and conservationists must account for the social, political, economic, and ecological struggles that occur when addressing the preservation of an occupied natural area. I believe that an increase of rural community involvement in conservation initiatives will lead to an increase of conservation for utilitarian purposes. This thesis addresses when, why, and how humans are neglected in conservation and how they can be more included. It explores how to protect both human rights and wildlife biodiversity.

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