Resource Contestation and Conservation in Timor-Leste

Event details

SSGM Seminar Series

Date & time

Wednesday 27 November 2013


Lecture Theatre 2, Hedley Bull Centre (130), corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU
ANU Canberra


Alexander Cullen – PhD Student, Dept. of Resource Management and Geography, University of Melbourne


Louana Gaffey
+61 2 6125 8244


The implementation of conservation regimes upon a landscape reconfigures not only the materiality of the environment, but also the social and power structures that arbitrate resource access.  This transformation produces differing socio-nature relations between stakeholders and their environment, reshaping the cultural, economic and political institutions of local communities as well as their relationships to state implementers. This occurs concurrently with a (re)-production of new ecological values that can legitimize who and how control over access is mediated.

In East Timor, the implementation of nation's first national park the Lautem district has impacted local livelihoods, but arguable achieved little ecological gains in its short existence thus far. It is contended that insufficient community consultation and preconceptions of local unsustainability have led to restrictions that have dramatically weakened livelihood strategies amongst the villagers. This State augmented re-negotiation of access rights, has taken place through a dominant knowledge framework of scientifically valued ecologies, which has legitimized greater formal control over spatially marginal villagers whom are yet to navigate or conceptually understand this new epistemology.

About the Speaker

Alexander Cullen is a PhD Student, Dept. of Resource Management and Geography, University of Melbourne.

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