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In this book, biologists, sociologists, historians and activists come together to search out solutions to the key problems of contemporary conservation practices. Much of the world's wildlife and biological diversity is located in Third World countries where there is intense competition for resources between people and wildife. Common questions face all such countries. Should the state or should local communities manage natural resources? Should 'western science' or 'local knowledge' form the basis of national park management? Sharply opposed dualities of this kind have begun preventing people from perceiving a viable middle ground that will enable effective conservation practices. Focusing on India, but also exloring comparable situations in Africa, this book makes the case for a better exploration of this middle ground, and argues for the need to involve not just urban enthusiasts, scientists and foresters but also the villager. Contributors debate the exclusionary aspects of Indian conservation even as they urge the need to look past romantic notions of egalitarian village republics that will cherish their forests. Biologists demonstrate how, in specific instances, human interference has changed protected areas. Some articles stress the value of local participation in conservation. The book calls for more imaginative handling of an inherently difficult, political situation. In a world rapidly losing its ecological heritage, these are questions relevant to all of us.