Re-mining the collections:from bioprospecting to biodiversity offsetting in Madagascar

Neimark, Benjamin and Wilson, Bradley (2015) Re-mining the collections:from bioprospecting to biodiversity offsetting in Madagascar. Geoforum, 66. pp. 1-10. ISSN 0016-7185

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Madagascar has always held a special place on the bioprospecting map. Designated as one of the world’s “hottest” biodiversity hotspots, scientists believe the extremely high flora and faunal endemism contain unique potential for the commercialisation of natural products. Years of collections by bioprospectors in Madagascar are beginning to pay off, not necessarily from drug discovery, but through the biodata from their botanical collections. In the paper, we highlight the links between labour and value over time to illustrate the historical process of collecting inventories of biodata and calculating biodiversity metrics. As we demonstrate, biodata originally used for the purposes of drug discovery and scientific exploration are now being repurposed in biodiversity offsetting programs for multinational mining operations in Madagascar. This project of “re-mining” biodata has reinforced the power of select research institutions which now service their expertise for biodiversity offsetting initiatives. In sum, botanical agencies are far from apolitical actors in these new iterations of market-conservation but active participants in a new age of green grabbing.

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24 month embargo This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Geoforum. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Geoforum, 66, 2015 DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.09.001
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03 Nov 2015 19:45
Last Modified:
02 May 2022 00:48