Conservation amidst political unrest: the case of Manas National Park, India
Across the world there exists a large overlap of biodiversity hotspots with areas experiencing high levels of sociopolitical and ethnic conflicts, making the impacts of such activities a critical factor for long-term conservation of biodiversity in these regions1. India is no exceptionwith many forested areas, including protected areas, experiencing conflicts of varying intensity owing to numerous complicated issues ranging from cultural identity to socio-political and environmental security. Such conflicts not only act as a major impediment to scientific monitoring, protection and management in the biodiversity-rich areas, but also lead to abuse of wildlife and natural areas by conflict parties and opportunistic elements in the absence of adequate protection and monitoring forces. Therefore, in the collective interest of biodiversity conservation, a greater challenge perhaps lies in devising new ways and methods to conserve landscapes in strifetorn areas, where emotions are often charged up and conservation of biodiversity does not figure among the immediate priorities.