SENR Seminar Series- Leo R. Douglas (Cancelled)

The SENR Seminar Series welcomes Leo R. Douglas from NYU.. Leo will present "Parrots, Bananas, and Neoliberalism: A Complex Systems View of Human-Wildlife Conflict on the Island of Dominicain 164 Howlett Hall from 4:10-5:30pm.


Human-wildlife conflicts are complex non-linear issues that frequently become conjoined with or surrogates for pre-existing, broader socio-economic struggles between stakeholder groups. During the 1980s on the island of Dominica, the island’s threatened endemic Amazona parrots became the focus of intense and proactive conservation interventions. As a result, the parrot populations rebounded. Concurrently, the enforcement of international neoliberal free trade policies led to significant and far-reaching economic and social changes on the island that significantly affected banana cultivation, the main-stay of the national economy. Using a grounded theory approach, we demonstrate that conflict between local stakeholders about parrot-induced crop losses is inherently a product of an unintended and unanticipated collision of state-facilitated parrot population recovery efforts and its post-banana agricultural diversification policies. Furthermore, conflict is largely about festering grievances related to the loss of economic power and financial security among farmers. Additionally, the conflict is an expression of fear about the loss of citrus, which has become an important form of retirement planning for many. Overall crop loss attributed to parrots on Dominica is now a surrogate issue and focal point within a larger, volatile public dispute about the state of agriculture and the security of farmers.