Article written by Gabriela Valdiviaa, 2009 DPDF Critical Agrarian Studies Research Director Wendy Wolford, and Flora Luc:
The Galápagos Islands, Ecuador, have been managed as a fortress of conservation since the late 1950s. Well-maintained borders separate the Galápagos National Park (GNP) and inhabited areas as incommensurable spaces of natural (protected) and human (productive) life. In recent years, ecological, political, and economic crises have challenged this separation and stimulated shifts in the socioecological thought that underlies conservation management. In this article, we draw on the insights of border studies and of studies that recognize the hybrid and collective nature of conservation to trace the discursive and material exchanges that traffic the GNP border. The goal is to resituate the contribution of borders in nature conservation: from borders as technologies that fix space for protection to borders as sites of lively encounters with the potential to transform conservation theory and practice.