A political ecology of green territorialization: frontier expansion and conservation in the Colombian Amazon

  • Jonas Hein
  • Carlos Del Cairo
  • Daniel Ortiz Gallego
  • Tomás Vergara Gutiérrez
  • Juan Sebastian Velez
  • Jean Carlo Rodríguez de Francisco
Keywords: territorialization, land tenure, REDD, Colombia, Visión Amazonía, conservation, post-conflict, green growth

Abstract

After decades of civil war, the Colombian government has recently declared the Amazon as a model region for green growth and low carbon development. The Amazon Vision programme, launched by the Colombian government in 2016, seeks to contribute to forest conservation, climate mitigation, poverty reduction and peace building. The Amazon Vision fundamentally reframes the Colombian Amazon from a ‘narco frontier’ that needs to be liberated from guerrilla influence, organized crime and peasants destroying forests for coca cultivation, to a net CO2 sink with enormous potential for green growth and poverty reduction. Drawing on historical and empirical qualitative research in Guaviare and complemented by a quantitative land cover classification, this article builds on the concept of ‘green territoriality’ to investigate the extent to which the shift towards conservation affects property rights and the ability of indigenous groups and peasants to access land and natural resources. We illustrate how the reframing of peasants from protagonists of development and frontier expansion to villains, and of indigenous communities from underdeveloped forest dwellers to environmental guardians, has created land conflicts and affected the legitimacy of their respective property rights. In both cases, the Amazon Vision strengthens conservation policies and challenges existing land rights but also creates new windows of opportunity for the land claims of indigenous communities while reinforcing conceptualizations of social differentiation among dwellers of the Amazon.

Author Biography

Jonas Hein

Institute of Geography

References

Agnew, J. and U. Oslender 2013: Overlapping territorialities, sovereignty in dispute: empirical lessons from Latin America. – In: Nicholls, W., B. Miller and J. Beaumont (eds.): Spaces of Contention: Spatialities and Social Movements. – Abingdon et al.: 121-140

Agrawal, A. and A. Angelsen 2009: Using community forest management to achieve REDD+ goals. – In: Angelsen, A. (ed.): Realising REDD+: national strategy and policy options. – Bogor: 201-212

Alagappa, M. 1995: Political legitimacy in Southeast Asia: The quest for moral authority. – Stanford

Arendt, H. 1951: The origins of totalitarianism. – New York

Asiyanbi, A.P. 2016: A political ecology of REDD+: Property rights, militarised protectionism, and carbonised exclusion in Cross River. – Geoforum 77: 146-156

Ballvé, T. 2019: Narco‐frontiers: A spatial framework for drug‐fuelled accumulation. – Journal of Agrarian Change 19: 211-224

Bassett, T.J. and D. Gautier 2014: Regulation by Territorialization: The Political Ecology of Conservation & Development Territories. Introduction. – EchoGéo 29: 1-7

Benjaminsen, T.A. and I. Bryceson 2012: Conservation, green/blue grabbing and accumulation by dispossession in Tanzania. – Journal of Peasant Studies 39 (2): 335-355

Bernstein, H. 2010: Class dynamics of agrarian change. – Black Point

Bluwstein, J. 2017: Creating ecotourism territories: Environmentalities in Tanzania’s community-based conservation. – Geoforum 83: 101-113

Bocarejo, D. and D. Ojeda 2016: Violence and conservation: Beyond unintended consequences and unfortunate coincidences. – Geoforum 69: 176-183

Brad, A., A. Schaffartzik, M. Pichler and C. Plank 2015: Contested territorialization and biophysical expansion of oil palm plantations in Indonesia. – Geoforum 64: 100-111

Chaves, M. and M. Zambrano 2006: From blanqueamiento to reindigenización: Paradoxes of mestizaje and multiculturalism in contemporary Colombia. – Revista Europea de Estudios Latinoamericanos y del Caribe/European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 80: 5-23

Corson, C., K.I. MacDonald and B. Neimark 2013: Grabbing “green”: markets, environmental governance and the materialization of natural capital. – Human Geography 6 (1): 1-15

Del Cairo, C. 2012. Environmentalizing Indigeneity: A Comparative Ethnography on Multiculturalism, Ethnic Hierarchies and Political Ecology in the Colombian Amazon. Dissertation – University of Arizona – Ann Arbor

Del Cairo, C.L. and I. Montenegro-Perini 2015: Espacios, campesinos y subjetividades ambientales en el Guaviare. – Memoria y Sociedad 19 (39): 49-71

Del Cairo, C.L., S.G. Zúñiga, J.E. Ortega, D.O. Gallego, A.C.R. Maldonado, J.S.V. Triana and T.V. Gutiérrez 2018: Dinámicas socioecológicas y ecoturismo comunitario: un análisis comparativo en el eje fluvial Guayabero-Guaviare. – Cuadernos de Desarrollo Rural 15 (82): 1-23

Del Cairo, C.L., I. Montenegro-Perini and J.S. Vélez 2014: Naturalezas, subjetividades y políticas ambientales en el Noroccidente amazónico: reflexiones metodológicas para el análisis de conflictos socioambientales. – Boletín de Antropología 29 (48): 13-40

Del Cairo, J. 2018: Concentración de tierras en el Guaviare. PID Amazonia, San Jose del Guaviare

Domínguez, C. and A. Gómez 1994: Nación y etnias. Los conflictos territoriales en la Amazonia colombiana, 1750-1933. – Bogotá

El Congreso de Colombia 1936: Ley 200 de 1936, (diciembre 30), Sobre régimen de tierras. – Bogotá

El Congreso de Colombia 1959: Ley 2 de 1959 (diciembre 16), Sobre economía forestal de la Nación y conservación de recursos naturales renovables. – Bogotá

Fairhead, J., M. Leach and I. Scoones 2012: Green Grabbing: a new appropriation of nature? – Journal of Peasant Studies 39 (2): 237-261

Fajardo, D. 2009: Territorios de la agricultura colombiana. Universidad Externado de Colombia – Bogotá

Fajardo, D. and H. Salgado 2017: El acuerdo agrario. – Bogotá

Fold, N. and P. Hirsch 2009: Re‐thinking frontiers in Southeast Asia. – The Geographical Journal 175 (2): 95-97

Fontaine, G. 2006: La globalización de la Amazonía: una perspectiva andina. – Íconos: Revista de Ciencias Sociales 25: 25-36

García, H.A. 2010: The Unending Quest for Land: The Tale of Broken Constitutional Promises. – Texas Law Review 89 (3): 1895-1914

Garcia, M. 1995: Coca, guerrilla y sociedad civil en el Guaviare: regulación de conflictos y otros controles. – Colombia Internacional 29: 18-29

Gobierno de Colombia 2015: Visión Amazonía. – Bogotá

Graser, M., M. Bonatti, L. Eufemia, H. Morales, M. Lana, K. Löhr and S. Sieber 2020: Peacebuilding in Rural Colombia - A Collective Perception of the Integrated Rural Reform (IRR) in the Department of Caquetá (Amazon). – Land 9 (2): 1-17, doi:10.3390/land9020036

Guzmán, G., O. Fals and E. Umaña 1962: La violencia en Colombia. Estudio de un proceso social. – Tercer Mundo 10. – Bogotá

Hall, D., P. Hirsch and T.M. Li 2011: Powers of Exclusion: Land Dilemmas in Southeast Asia. – Honolulu

Hein, J. 2019: Political Ecology of REDD+ in Indonesia - Agrarian conflicts and forest carbon. – London

Hinestroza-Cuesta, L. and M. Mena-Valencia 2011: Análisis sobre el marco jurídico que regula el aprovechamiento forestal en Colombia. – Revista Biodiversidad Neotropical 1: 73-90

Ibáñez, A.M. 2009: Forced displacement in Colombia: Magnitude and causes. – The Economics of Peace and Security Journal 4 (1): 48-54

KfW and GIZ 2015: Rewarding REDD+ Action and Supporting Low-deforestation Development in the Colombian Amazon. – Online available at: https://www.kfw-entwicklungsbank.de/PDF/Entwicklungsfinanzierung/Themen-NEU/20151128-REM-Colombia-agreement-summaryFINAL.pdf., accessed 27/02/2017

Kopytoff, I. 2000: The internal African frontier: Cultural conservatism and ethnic innovation. – In: M. Rosler and T. Wendl (eds.): Frontiers and Borderlands: Anthropological Perspectives. – Berlin: 31-44

Korf, B. and T. Raeymaekers 2013: Introduction: Border, Frontier and the Geography of Rule at the Margins of the State. – In: Korf, B. and T. Raeymaekers (eds.): Violence on the Margins. – Palgrave Series in African Borderlands Studies 2. – New York: 3-27

Larsen, P. 2015: Post-frontier resource governance: indigenous rights, extraction and conservation in the Peruvian Amazon – London

Larson, A.M. 2011: Forest tenure reform in the age of climate change: Lessons for REDD+. – Global Environmental Change 21(2): 540-549

LeGrand, C.C., L. van Isschot and P. Riaño-Alcalá 2017: Land, justice, and memory: challenges for peace in Colombia. – Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies / Revue canadienne des études latino-américaines et caraïbes 42 (3): 259-276

Li, T.M. 2000: Articulating indigenous identity in Indonesia: Resource politics and the tribal slot. – Comparative studies in society and history 42 (1): 149-179

López Loffsner, F. 2018: Deforestación, justicia ambiental y post-acuerdo en el noroccidente del Guaviare. – Master thesis, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Bogotá. – Bogotá

Lund, C. 2016: Rule and rupture: state formation through the production of property and citizenship. – Development and Change 47 (6): 1199-1228

Lund, C. 2006: Twilight institutions: public authority and local politics in Africa. – Development and change 37 (4): 685-705

Macpherson, C.B. 1978: Property Mainstream and Critical Positions. – Oxford

Maher, D. 2015: Rooted in violence: Civil war, international trade and the expansion of palm oil in Colombia. – New Political Economy 20 (2): 299-330

Martínez, M.E.P. 2004: La conformación territorial en Colombia: entre el conflicto, el desarrollo y el destierro. – Cuadernos de desarrollo rural 51: 61-90

Ministry for Agriculture 1971: Resolución 222 de 1971. – Bogotá

Ministry for Agriculture 1989: Decreto 1989 de 1989, Por el cual se declara Area de Manejo Especial La Macarena, la Reserva Sierra de La Macarena, se clasifica y zonifica su territorio y se fijan sus límites reales. – Bogotá

Ministry for the Environment and Sustainable Development 2013: Resolucion 1925 de 2013 Por la cual se adopta la zonificación y el ordenamiento de la Reserva Forestal de la Amazonía, establecida en la Ley 2ª de 1959, en los departamentos de Caquetá, Guaviare y Huila y se toman otras determinaciones. – Bogotá

Molano, A. 1987: Selva adentro. Una historia oral de la colonización del Guaviare. – Bogotá

Montenegro, I. 2014: El ecoturismo en juego: procesos de neoliberalización, tecnologías de gobierno y agencias campesinas en Playa Güío, Guaviare. – Bachelor thesis, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana – Bogotá

Ng’weno, B. 2007: Can ethnicity replace race? Afro‐Colombians, indigeneity and the Colombian multicultural state. – The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 12 (2): 414-440

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) 2018: What is green growth and how can it help deliver sustainable development? – Online available at: http://www.oecd.org/greengrowth/whatisgreengrowthandhowcanithelpdeliversustainabledevelopment.htm., accessed 12/02/2020

Ortiz, D. 2016: Políticas de desarrollo alternativo en el Guaviare: formación local del estado y producción estatal del espacio. – Bachelor thesis [unpublished], Pontificia Universidad Javeriana – Bogotá

Ortiz, S. 1984: Colonization in the Colombian Amazon. Frontier expansion in Amazonia. – In: Schmink, M. and C.H. Wood (eds.): Frontier Expansion in Amazonia. – Gainsville: 204-230

Paasi, A. 2003: Territory. – In: Agnew, J. and G. Toal (eds.): A Companion to Political Geography. – Malden: 95-108

Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia 2012: Principales Ajustes al componente diagnostico. – Online available at: http://www.ame-macarena.org/descargar_archivo.php?archivo_id=167&hash=bbd4de8dbbaf3542be1839aea87d3c., accessed 16/05/2019

Paz Cardona, A.J. 2017: Colombia: las mafias de la deforestación en el Guaviare. – Online available at: https://es.mongabay.com/2017/07/colombia-las-mafias-la-deforestacion-guaviare/., accessed 11/10/2018

Peluso, N.L. 1992: Rich forest, poor people. – Berkeley

Peluso, N.L. 1995: Whose woods are these? Counter‐mapping forest territories in Kalimantan, Indonesia. – Antipode 27 (4): 383-406

Peluso, N.L. and C. Lund 2011: New frontiers of land control: Introduction. – Journal of Peasant Studies 38 (4): 667-681

Peluso, N.L. and P. Vandergeest 2001: Genealogies of the political forest and customary rights in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. – The Journal of Asian Studies 60 (03): 761-812

Ramírez, M.C. 2001: Entre el estado y la guerrilla: identidad y ciudadanía en el movimiento de los campesinos cocaleros del Putumayo. – Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia, Colciencias. – Bogotá

Ramírez, M.C. and J. Iglesias 2010: Paradojas del desarrollo alternativo en la Amazonia occidental colombiana. – In: Chaves, M. and C. Del Cairo (eds.): Perspectivas antropológicas sobre la Amazonia contemporánea. – Bogotá: 537-562

Rasmussen, M. and C. Lund 2018: Reconfiguring Frontier Spaces: The territorialization of resource control. – World Development 101 (C): 388-399

Republica de Colombia and las FARC-EP 2016: Acuerdo Final para la Terminación del Conflicto y la Construcción de una Paz Estable y Duradera. – Online available at: http://www.altocomisionadoparalapaz.gov.co/procesos-y-conversaciones/Documentos%20compartidos/24-11-2016NuevoAcuerdoFinal.pdf., accessed 13/06/2019

Ribot, J.C. and N.L. Peluso 2003: A Theory of Access. – Rural sociology 68 (2): 153-181

Rodriguez-de-Francisco, J.C. and R. Boelens 2016: PES hydrosocial territories: de-territorialization and re-patterning of water control arenas in the Andean highlands. – Water International 41 (1): 140-156

Ruíz, D. 2010: Las premisas de la selva. Representaciones de la naturaleza en una zona de colonización campesina. – In: Chaves, M. and C. Del Cairo (eds.): Perspectivas antropológicas sobre la Amazonia contemporánea. – Bogotá: 355-361

Ruiz, M.A.V. 2018: The emergence and consolidation of transitional justice within the realm of Colombian peacebuilding. – In: Díaz Pabón, F. (ed.): Truth, Justice and Reconciliation in Colombia. – London: 50-65

Salazar, A., A. Sanchez, J.C. Villegas, J.F. Salazar, D.R. Carrascal, S. Sitch, J.D. Restrepo, G. Poveda, K.J. Feeley, L.M. Mercado, P.A. Arias, C.A. Sierra M. del Rosario Uribe, A.M. Rendón, J.C. Pérez, G.M. Tortarolo, D. Mercado-Bettin, J.A. Posada, Q. Zhuang and J.S. Dukes 2018: The ecology of peace: preparing Colombia for new political and planetary climates. – Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 16 (9): 525-531

Salgado, H. 2012: El campesinado de la Amazonia colombiana: Construcción territorial, colonización forzada y resistencias. – Disertación Doctoral, Universidad de Montreal. – Montreal

Serna, D.R. 2003: Campesinos entre la selva, invasores de reservas. – Tabula Rasa 1: 183-210

Sikor, T. and C. Lund 2009: Access and property: a question of power and authority. – Development and change 40 (1): 1-22

SINCHI 2008: Flora de las formaciones rocosas Serranía de La Lindosa. – Instituto Amazónico de Investigaciones Científicas. – Bogotá

Sistema de Información Ambiental Territorial de la Amazonia colombiana (SIAT-AC) 2015: Resguardos Indígenas. – Online available at: http://siatac.co/web/guest/productos/territorios-ancestrales/resguardos-indigenas., accessed 12/02/2020

Soja, E.W. 1980: The socio-spatial dialectic. – Annals of the Association of American Geographers 70 (2): 207-225

Tobón, M. 2010: Analizar para distinguir: Narraciones y experiencias del conflicto político armado entre la Gente de centro. – Revista Colombiana de Antropología 46 (1):157-185

Torres, J., D. Salamanca, D. Fajardo and D. Ortiz 2018: Puerto Gaviotas, Guaviare: la experiencia de una comunidad sobreviviente y constructora de institucionalidad comunitaria. – In: Jefferson, J., C.H. Fabio and D. Ortiz (eds.): Instituciones comunitarias para la paz en Colombia: esbozos teóricos, experiencias locales y desafíos sociales. – Bogotá: 119-151

Tsing, A.L. 2005: An ethnography of global connection. – Princeton

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 2020: Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD-plus). – Online available at: https://unfccc.int/topics/land-use/workstreams/reddplus., accessed 12/02/2020

Valencia, L.E. 2010: Historia, realidad, pensamiento y perspectivas de la acción comunal en Colombia. – Online available at: http://viva.org. co/cajavirtual/svc0168/articulo0006. pdf., accessed 11/10/2018

Vergara, T. 2016: Las líneas sobre la selva: un análisis del campo del ordenamiento territorial en el Guaviare. – Bachelor thesis in anthropology. [unpublished]. – Bogotá

Visión Amazonía 2018a: Plan de Trabajo Global, Programa REM Colombia. – Online available at: http://visionamazonia.minambiente.gov.co/content/uploads/2018/09/PTG-aprobado.pdf., accessed 24/02/2020

Visión Amazonía 2018b: Desarollo Agroambiental. – Online available at: http://visionamazonia.minambiente.gov.co/pilar-3-desarrollo-agroambiental/., accessed 22/11/2018

Von Benda-Beckmann, F., K. von Benda-Beckmann and M. Wiber 2009: The Properties of Property. – In: von Benda-Beckmann, F., K. von Benda-Beckmann and M. Wiber (eds.): Changing properties of property. – New York et al.: 1-39

Wertz-Kanounnikoff, S. and A. Angelsen 2009: Global and national REDD+ architecture. Realising REDD. - In: Angelsen, A. (ed.): Realising REDD+: national strategy and policy options. – Bogor: 13-24

Woods, K.M. 2019: Green Territoriality: Conservation as State Territorialization in a Resource Frontier. – Human Ecology 47 (2): 217–232, doi:10.1007/s10745-019-0063-x

Wunder, S. 2005: Payments for environmental services: some nuts and bolts. – CIFOR Occasional Paper 42 – Bogor

Zimmerer, K.S. and T.J. Bassett 2003: Future directions in political ecology: nature–society fusions and scales of interaction. – In: Zimmerer, K.S. and T.J. Bassett (eds.): Political ecology: An integrative approach to geography and environment-development studies. –New York: 275-296

Published
2020-02-28
How to Cite
Hein, J., Del Cairo, C., Gallego, D. O., Gutiérrez, T. V., Velez, J. S., & Rodríguez de Francisco, J. C. (2020). A political ecology of green territorialization: frontier expansion and conservation in the Colombian Amazon. DIE ERDE – Journal of the Geographical Society of Berlin, 151(1), 37-57. https://doi.org/10.12854/erde-2020-456
Section
Research articles