*Postponed* Seminar: ‘Ramsar sites as Palimpsests: Analyzing the implications on local human-nature interactions with a case study of Nepal’ – Sunita Chaudhary

Please join us for Sunita’s GeoPlan Seminar which is now on Tuesday 6th December. Sunita Chaudhary will present ‘Ramsar sites as Palimpsests: Analyzing the implications on local human-nature interactions with a case study of Nepal’.


Ecosystem services, a globalizing discourse referring to both material and nonmaterial benefits humans gain from ecosystems, has been rapidly mainstreamed into scientific and political thinking of environmental management. However, non-material benefits, also known as cultural services, have been rather submerged by this dominating discourse. This research, informed by political ecology, draws insights from scale and fortress conservation to explore the implications of Ramsar site declaration on local human-nature interactions. Explored through ecosystem services framework, the research applied both qualitative and quantitative methods including Q-methodology to address the aims. Spirituality, sense of place and traditional practices were some of the important local cultural values identified contributing to ecosystem management. But such local values were marginalized during up-scaling to national and global scales, and institutionalization into policy. The institutionalization of Ramsar listing at the case study site imposed restrictions on community activities and a possibility of resettlement at the local scale, thus creating disenchantment among the local community. This paper, identifies the persistence of local values, uses and practices as part of the palimpsest that the Ramsar listing process produces. It shows the need to strengthen the value of local cultural services in policy-making, that links specific local sites into the global Ramsar network. This is important not only for refining the global conservation policy and discourse like ecosystem services, but also for securing just conservation and sustainable development outcomes.

When and where: 12 – 1pm | Tuesday 6th December | TBA



Sunita Chaudhary is a final year PhD Candidate at the Department of Geography and Planning, Macquarie University. Her PhD research, informed by political ecology, explores how the global ‘ecosystem services’ discourse is unfolding at national and local scales with a case study in Nepal. Sunita did her M.Sc in Management of Protected Areas from the University of Klagenfurt, Austria and a graduate leadership program from the University of Hawaii, USA. A proud mother of one, she has more than five years of experience in conservation and development sector from the Hindu Kush Himalayas region.


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