A Model for Conservation
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by Anne Zeller
color, 18 min, 2010
Operation Wallacea is a UK based group of scientists who have established a conservation strategy with outposts in 6 areas of the world which they consider to be "biodiversity hotspots". A rainforest area of the Island of Buton, off the south coast of Sulawesi in Indonesia is the locus of this video. Operation Wallacea's scientists have been active here for a number of years, operating by a 4 stage process in which they survey the level of biological diversity, plan ways to maintain it, help the local people develop strategies to maintain income without harming the ecology and work to obtain grants to help development in the local area.
We see interviews with the head scientist of the Buton Project as well as a number of his fellow scientists working in forestry, primatology and herpataology. Outlining their projects, they discuss the importance of their research and how students and local people can help. We see newly-discovered species in their natural habitats; rare birds, insects and animals, including two primates. Students are also interviewed about their plans and their contributions to the overall conservation effort.
The video also provides insights into alternatively-structured models of conservation, as well as examining the impact of outside groups promoting their own ideas about conservation to the local inhabitants, making it a useful starting point to discuss these issues. Additionally it allows the viewer to see the human and animal inhabitants of Buton's subsistence-based culture and could be a tool to recruit students who may wish to participate in the Operation Wallacea project.