Renderings of investible land for biodiversity conservation: the case of Chilean rainforests

Authors: Fernanda Rojas Marchini*, University of British Columbia
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Latin America, Environmental Science
Keywords: Land grabbing, regimes of racialization, environmental science, forests
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Washington 1, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The last decade has witnessed several events of land grabbing that are now deemed as part of a global, albeit north and elite-based, process. Currently, some scholars have turned to different aspects to understand how land is rendered into an investible resource, characterizing the preceding stages of land purchases (Goldstein & Yates, 2017; Li, 2014, 2017). Through the case of biodiversity conservation in the Chilean Mapuche southern rainforests, I explore in this presentation what Tania Li calls “rendering land investible:” a process of assembling heterogenous elements to produce land value (Li, 2017). My exploration of this case has resulted in a higher recognition of regimes of racialization in Chile and what I tentatively refer to as colonial/modern renderings of investible land for biodiversity conservation. Among several elements participating in such renderings, I refer to the production and circulation of scientific knowledge in accordance to development policies to tackle forests biodiversity loss: their material and discursive occlusions and augmentations. Despite the relative absence of accounts on the role of scientists in the land grabbing literature (Goldstein, 2016), scientific views have been prominent in the framings of land as an object that can actively secure nature conservation in the form of an investible resource. In other words, science can legitimate land grabbing when applied to conservation. I conclude this presentation by reflecting on how the state engages with environmental science that bypasses race, class and gender regimes of exclusion and even, perhaps, reinforce them.

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