Fencing off a mountain: environmentalists, farmers and private conservation infrastructures in Chile
Piergiorgio Di Giminiani
(Universidad Catolica de Chile)
Paper short abstract:
This paper sets out to analyse infrastructural changes and collaborative schemes characterizing with private conservation in Chile. These ventures have produced fragmented forms of imagining sustainable futures as the result of infrastructural changes affecting movement in and experiences of the landscape.
Paper long abstract:
This paper sets out to analyse the social and material implications of environmental conservation in Chile by focusing on the infrastructural changes and collaborative schemes brought by the institution of private parks. Since the 1990s, conservation in Chile has been increasingly opened to private initiatives financed by international funds. In contrast with public parks, privately managed conservation projects have prioritized collaborative schemes with rural residents and infrastructural arrangements allowing for alternative forms of conservation other than policing. Ethnographic research for this paper draws on the tensions among local residents and environmentalists concerning participation in the management of the private park Cahuin mountain (Araucania region) and the fencing off of this area to prevent customary livestock routes indicated by environmentalists as dangerous for forest regeneration. I argue that collaborative ventures in private conservation have produced fragmented forms of imagining sustainable futures as the result of infrastructural changes affecting movement in and experiences of the landscape that go along the opening of paths and the closure of property access. Contrasting views of the future among farmers in Chile affected by private conservation projects originate not as ramifications of the dialectical encounter between local and expert knowledge, but rather as the result of infrastructural changes reconfiguring both farmers' and environmentalists' access to and position within the world the social and environmental world they apprehend by dwelling in it. In a departure from views emphasizing the discursive nature of environmental knowledge, this paper aims to show the emergent ontologies entailed by infrastructures of conservation.
Intimacies of infrastructure