Skip to Main Content
Forest Values of national park neighbors in Costa RicaAuthor(s): John Schelhas; Max J. Pfeffer
Source: Human Organization, Vol. 64(4): 385-397
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
PDF: View PDF (1.39 MB)
DescriptionGlobal environmental concern and action have increased markedly over the past few decades. Rather than resulting in uniform environmental values across the globe, we argue that distinct environmentalisms are socially constructed in different places through the complex interactions between the global environmental values and locally unique historical, political, and environmental factors. We analyze forest-related mental and cultural models-including both beliefs and values-using text analysis of transcripts and field notes from 67 qualitative interviews in five villages adjacent to La Amistad International Park in Costa Rica. We find that global environmental discourse has played a key role in framing the way rural people think and talk about forests. Conservation-oriented discourse has largely replaced earlier frontier views of forests as resources to be exploited and converted to agricultural lands. We find that the new forest beliefs and values are genuine, but also that they are sometimes superficial and lack motivating force. Local people are exposed to influential environmental discourses that see forests as something to be protected for heritage values and as a source of national development through ecotourism and bioprospecting, which often place forest conservation in opposition to their livelihood needs. This conflict has produced mediating discourses that acknowledge forest conservation as good while creating a legitimate place for rural landowners and their livelihood needs in the forested landscape. The result is unique local forest beliefs and values that are different from both earlier local beliefs and global and national environmental discourses.
- You may send email to email@example.com to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationSchelhas, John; Pfeffer, Max J. 2005. Forest Values of national park neighbors in Costa Rica. Human Organization, Vol. 64(4): 385-397
Keywordsenvironmental values, tropical forests, cultural models, Costa Rica
- When global conservation meets local livelihoods: People and parks in Central America
- When global environmentalism meets local livelihoods: policy and management lessons
- What is the importance of islands to environmental conservation?
XML: View XML