Abstract # 11:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2009 11:15 AM-11:25 AM: Session 1 (Mission Bay Ballroom AB) Symposium


ETHICS OF FIELD RESEARCH IN MADAGASCAR.

P. C. Wright1,2 and B. A. Andriamihaja2,3
1Department of Anthropology and Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA, 2Centre ValBio, Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar, 3MICET, Antananarivo, Madagascar
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     The establishment of the national park system in Madagascar in 1992 was born from meetings with research scientists, forest managers and conservation NGOs. From the beginning it was apparent that different cultures had contrasting ideas, and many issues were debated until a compromise was agreed. With the Convention of Biological Diversity (Rio Convention of 1992) as a guide, an ethical code evolved which formed the basis of the park system. Foreign scientists would participate in capacity building and fund a Malagasy graduate student to train alongside them. Researchers should hire local residents and provide these villagers with skills in language, technology and science; skills to train them to be research assistants, tourist guides or park rangers. International scientists would collaborate with Madagascar university colleagues and co-author publications. These colleagues would be invited to international meetings to network and broaden their academic skills. The intellectual property of the local residents should be valued, and rewarded. These ethics for biodiversity conservation (eco-ethics) were developed for the long-term sustainability of the wildlife and forests. Local villagers, park managers, eco-tourists and international scientists joining together for one goal is noble, but challenging. The roles and responsibilities of each party must be carefully agreed upon, with a system put in place that safeguards and balances the culture and needs of each group.