A sharp increase in investment by resource industries is changing the course of history for delicate tropical ecosystems and the communities who inhabit them. This volume is intended to help all concerned parties—activists, corporations, local communities, governments, and conservation organizations—address this growing challenge.
In the pages that follow, contributors examine the environmental and social impacts of resource extraction and infrastructure development and highlight approaches taken to date to address these issues by both companies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The book is intended to stimulate debate about the feasibility of, and constraints to, developing natural resources in a manner that safeguards biodiversity and respects the interests of local communities. It seeks to highlight emerging “best practices” and focus attention on challenging technical, environmental, social, and legal issues.
The book is organized into five parts. Part I provides the reader with an overview of the book's main topics and themes. In the opening essay, conservationists Russell Mittermeier and William Konstant explain why we should care about biodiversity in the first place. They explain that scientists and the general public understand very little about “biodiversity”—the term used to encompass the wide range of species, ecosystems, and ecological processes that are found on the planet Earth. The authors discuss challenges to conserving this biodiversity and approaches to setting priorities for conservation investments.
Chapter 2 helps set the stage for future chapters by examining new trends in development finance. Everett Santos, of Emerging Market