In the early 1990s, the sense that existing approaches to conservation and
development in Southeast Asia were not only not working but were making
it di≈cult to even think of alternatives brought together two of Southeast
Asia’s most influential academic programs on the environment, those of the
East-West Center (ewc/env) and the Southeast Asian Universities Agroeco-
system Network (suan).∞
From 1993 through 1997, the John D. and Cath-
erine T. MacArthur Foundation funded an e√ort by Michael R. Dove from
the ewc/env and Percy E. Sajise from suan to develop a collaborative,
regional project titled ‘‘The Conditions of Biodiversity Maintenance in Asia:
The Policy Linkages Between Environmental Conservation and Sustainable
Development.’’ Sajise is a Cornell-trained biologist and Dove a Stanford-
trained anthropologist. Amity A. Doolittle, a Yale-trained social ecologist,
joined the project at a later date to assist in the analysis and publication of
the project’s findings. This project, instead of dwelling on the conditions that
bring about the loss of biodiversity, focused on the conditions that suc-
cessfully maintain it; it sought to identify the biosocial circumstances re-
sponsible for biodiversity maintenance in Southeast Asia; and it asked how
the maintenance of biodiversity relates to the maintenance of society.≤
findings of this project were published in Dove, Doolittle, and Sajise (2005).
Building on the findings of this project, the principal investigators de-
signed a second project, also funded by the MacArthur Foundation (1996–
2004), called ‘‘The Institutional Context of Biodiversity Maintenance in Asia:
Trans-national, Cross-sectoral, and Inter-disciplinary Approaches.’’ This sec-
ond project was coordinated by the seameo Regional Center for Graduate
Study and Research in Agriculture (searca) in Los Baños (then headed by
Sajise), the primary agricultural research and educational institution for the
asean nations, and also, again, by the East-West Center’s Program on the
Environment. The first project had revealed how inadequate existing concep-
tual tools were to the task of trying to promote genuine change in conserva-
tion and development in the region. The aim of this second project was, first,
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