Between Preservation and Exploitation

From Politics, Science, and the Environment

Between Preservation and Exploitation

Transnational Advocacy Networks and Conservation in Developing Countries

By Kemi Fuentes-George

A study of biodiversity governance analyzes the factors that determine the effectiveness of transnational advocacy networks and the importance of justice claims to conservation.





A study of biodiversity governance analyzes the factors that determine the effectiveness of transnational advocacy networks and the importance of justice claims to conservation.

In the late 2000s, ordinary citizens in Jamaica and Mexico demanded that government put a stop to lucrative but environmentally harmful economic development activities—bauxite mining in Jamaica and large-scale tourism and overfishing on the eastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. In each case, the catalyst for the campaign was information gathered and disseminated by transnational advocacy networks (TANs) of researchers, academics, and activists. Both campaigns were successful despite opposition from industry supporters. Meanwhile, simultaneous campaigns to manage land in another part of the Yucatán and to conserve migratory birds in Egypt had far less success. In this book, Kemi Fuentes-George uses these four cases to analyze factors that determine the success or failure of efforts by TANs to persuade policymakers and private sector actors in developing countries to change environmental behavior.

Fuentes-George argues that in order to influence the design and implementation of policy, TANs must generate a scientific consensus, create social relationships with local actors, and advocate for biodiversity in a way that promotes local environmental justice. Environmentally just policies would allow local populations access to their lands provided they use natural resources sustainably. Justice claims are also more likely to generate needed support among local groups for conservation projects.

In their conservation efforts, Jamaica, Mexico, and Egypt were attempting to meet their obligations under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and other regional agreements. Fuentes-George's innovative analysis shows the importance of local environmental justice for the implementation of international environmental treaties.


$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262034289 344 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 21 figures


$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262528764 344 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 21 figures


  • Through systematic empirical evidence and incisive analysis, Kemi Fuentes-George offers a significant contribution to the literature on environmental politics and governance. Between Preservation and Exploitation is a must-read for scholars, activists, and practitioners seeking to understand, explain, and improve biodiversity management in developing countries.

    Maria Ivanova

    Associate Professor of Global Governance, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston

  • Fuentes-George's comparative politics of transnational advocacy networks in developing countries is much-needed. His exceptionally well-researched work helps explain why some biodiversity protection efforts succeed, while others fail. His treatment of 'environmentally just and sustainable conservation' should shape future research, theory, and practice.

    Stacy D. VanDeveer

    Professor of Political Science, University of New Hampshire

  • Biodiversity conservation has long been challenged by clashes between the priorities of transnational scientists and local communities. Fuentes-George draws on a diverse and understudied set of cases to convincingly persuade readers that sustainable conservation depends on bridging that gap and framing scientific consensus in social justice terms.

    Kathryn Hochstetler

    University of Waterloo, coauthor of Greening Brazil: Environmental Activism in State and Society