Guatemala's Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR), the largest protected area in Central America, is characterized by rampant violence, social and ethnic inequality, and rapid deforestation. Faced with these threats, local residents, conservationists, scientists, and NGOs in the region work within what Micha Rahder calls “an ecology of knowledges,” in which interventions on the MBR landscape are tied to differing and sometimes competing forms of knowing. In this book, Rahder examines how technoscience, endemic violence, and an embodied love of wild species and places shape conservation practices in Guatemala. Rahder highlights how different forms of environmental knowledge emerge from encounters and relations between humans and nonhumans, institutions and local actors, and how situated ways of knowing impact conservation practices and natural places, often in unexpected and unintended ways. In so doing, she opens up new ways of thinking about the complexities of environmental knowledge and conservation in the context of instability, inequality, and violence around the world.
“An Ecology of Knowledges is replete with intriguing ethnographic material located at the crossroads of histories of violence and practices of conservation. Its themes and depictions of the problematic relation between state, ecology, globalization, and violence—along with its siting in a globally recognized ecological zone—are all extremely compelling features that will appeal to scholars and students, NGO workers, conservation officials, and even governmental organizations.”
Marisol de la Cadena, author of
Earth Beings: Ecologies of Practice across Andean Worlds
“This exceptionally well-written book details the complex interactions between people, nonhuman animals, organizations, and interests as they converge in Guatemala's Maya Biosphere. Micha Rahder's strongly-grounded and fine-grained research reveals how conservation organizations work and how knowledge and uncertainty about nature, population, wildness, and frontiers operate. Although it charts a conservation failure, An Ecology of Knowledges is really about success: how people learn from process, create conservation consciousness and enact deep care.”
Diane M. Nelson, author of
Who Counts? The Mathematics of Death and Life after Genocide