Part IV, section C introduction: Environmental governance
Pages 128

The ten chapters in this section reflect political ecology’s broad and diverse concern with the social arrangements and forms of rule through which people manage environments and resources, and the social, political, and ecological effects to which these arrangements give rise. Overall, this section on environmental governance reflects the broad range of empirical contexts and conceptual frameworks through which political ecology has sought to understand how economic and political power are sustained through socio-ecological arrangements. The section opens with Rod Neumann’s chapter on nature conservation – a topic occupying a significant place in the development of political ecology – and asks how efforts to maintain biodiversity are bound up with other cultural, political, and economic projects, such as the development of the nation state. This is followed by a pair of chapters that focus on the expansion of high-value export agriculture and aquaculture in the global South since the 1970s, and the rapid rise of environmental certification schemes. Derek Hall’s chapter identifies how, by focusing on the social arrangements of agricultural production, political ecology raises distinctive questions about agro-industrial commodity systems, including how production systems are shaped by ecological characteristics of particular species, and how producers gain access to land, labor, and the other social relations necessary to sustain commodity production. Jon Otto and Tad Mutersbaugh examine the rapid emergence of environmental certification schemes – for coffee, shrimp, carbon sequestration and the like – as a form of governance, highlighting the “natureworkers” through whose labour environmental standards are applied, monitored, and enforced.