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A challenge to conservationists: Phase II.

Mac Chapin's article in the November/December issue of World Watch has generated the heaviest flow of letters to the editor since we began producing the magazine in 1988. This overwhelming response has led us to publish an unprecedented number of those letters in this issue, including reactions from leaders of the "Big Three" conservation organizations that were at the center of Chapin's story.

As you will see in the letters that follow, both the facts and their interpretation are hotly debated by experts and officials from a range of organizations. But we are heartened to find that there is substantial consensus on the core issue the article addresses: that the needs of indigenous peoples and healthy ecosystems must be more effectively integrated in conservation programs than they are today. We hope that Chapin's article and the responses published here will spur the kind of dialogue and commitment to change that will be needed if consensus in words is to be translated into action on the ground.

There is no doubt that Chapin's article has made a lot of people uncomfortable, but discomfort is sometimes needed to force people to address problems that have festered for a long time. In talking to dozens of representatives of environmental organizations, indigenous groups, and foundations about these questions in the past few months, we have been impressed by the number of dedicated, savvy people who are committed to finding a productive way forward.

Worldwatch will contribute to this process by continuing to convey the latest developments and most creative thinking on the subject to a worldwide audience. Fresh air and debate, we believe, are essential ingredients of change. Early in 2005, we plan to convene a roundtable discussion that will bring together the key players in this drama to consider concrete steps that will better mesh the needs of indigenous peoples and the natural world.

CHRIS FLAVIN

President, Worldwatch Institute
COPYRIGHT 2005 Worldwatch Institute
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:FROM READERS
Author:Flavin, Chris
Publication:World Watch
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Words:317
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