chapter  6
36 Pages

Bacan: Biodiversity in the anarchipelago

WithPaul Carter

This chapter focuses on the establishment of value, to ask whether the setting of exchange rates integral to the political economy of archipelagos has implications for biodiversity maintenance, management and governance. In practical terms the Sultan of Bacan is the 'head,' but, in an island without Indigenous communities, surrounded by uninhabited islands, his authority is limited. The anarchipelago is the imagination of coral: it is the inhabitation of the shallows. Anthropological studies indicate that hot spots of high biodiversity are associated with regions where traditional societies are frequently found. The step in decolonising biodiversity governance models is to decolonise the mindset that informs it. A starting point might be a different 'origin story' for Alfred Russel Wallace's epoch-making contribution to evolutionary theory. While there is a perceived convergence of interests between civil society organisations and Indigenous communities, they are obviously different and the reconciliation of interests remains work in progress.