Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation



First Advisor

Ed Carr


Fortress conservation, the act of setting aside for conservation goals and protecting them through sanction, coercion, and violence, towards local users has became the paradigmatic understanding of how protected areas are created and maintained. The fortress conservation critique is marked by a preoccupation with the negative livelihood impacts of these areas, portrays animosity and social conflict between local users and the protected areas, is primarily concerned with national parks and clearly defined protected areas, and places state power at the center of the creation and maintenance of protected areas. This dissertation takes the tenants of fortress conservation to task by scrutinizing attempts to make hunting laws effective in and around the Shouf Biosphere Reserve (SBR) in the mountains of Lebanon. This counterpoint case study opens new arguments about protected areas and points to a more nuanced understanding of how people feel about protected areas, how protected areas are negotiated, spoken about, and occasionally valued by local users. Through my data, which were collected over nine months of interviews and participant observation in and around the Shouf Biosphere Reserve in the fall of 2011 and the summer and spring of 2013, I test the assumption of conflict between local users and a protected area by answering why SBR has been able to effect a ban on hunting in its core zone without a great deal of conflict. I demonstrate how the literature has partly neglected to theorize the space that constitute the multiple administrative zones of the biosphere reserve model and contribute a new reading of the role of these multiple zones by theorizing their role in relation to the Reserve, the police, and hunters. I continue in creating my counterpoint by departing from the understanding of the state as central to the creation and persistence of a protected area by further interrogating the role of these zones in the context of a the Lebanese state which is unable or unwilling to make hunting laws effective in these areas and detail how state actors seek the support of the Reserve in hope of making national law effective. I then address how the Reserve seeks to create buy in among hunters such that they value the Reserve and provide a counter point to fortress conservation in which some hunters come to value the Reserve.


© 2016, Robert Watkins Bowdoin Greeley

Included in

Geography Commons