NEW ARTICLE: Re-mining the collections: From bioprospecting to biodiversity offsetting in Madagascar

Author(s): Ben­jamin D. Neimark, Bradley Wilson

Title: Re-mining the col­lec­tions: From bio­prospect­ing to bio­di­ver­sity off­set­ting in Madagascar

Year: 2015

In: Geo­fo­rum Vol­ume 66, Novem­ber 2015

Pages: pages 1–10.

Pub­li­ca­tion type: jour­nal article

Lan­guage: English



Mada­gas­car has always held a spe­cial place on the bio­prospect­ing map. Des­ig­nated as one of the world’s “hottest” bio­di­ver­sity hotspots, sci­en­tists believe the extremely high flora and fau­nal endemism con­tain unique poten­tial for the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of nat­ural prod­ucts. Years of col­lec­tions by bio­prospec­tors in Mada­gas­car are begin­ning to pay off, not nec­es­sar­ily from drug dis­cov­ery, but through the bio­data from their botan­i­cal col­lec­tions. In the paper, we high­light the links between labour and value over time to illus­trate the his­tor­i­cal process of col­lect­ing inven­to­ries of bio­data and cal­cu­lat­ing bio­di­ver­sity met­rics. As we demon­strate, bio­data orig­i­nally used for the pur­poses of drug dis­cov­ery and sci­en­tific explo­ration are now being repur­posed in bio­di­ver­sity off­set­ting pro­grams for multi­na­tional min­ing oper­a­tions in Mada­gas­car. This project of “re-mining” bio­data has rein­forced the power of select research insti­tu­tions which now ser­vice their exper­tise for bio­di­ver­sity off­set­ting ini­tia­tives. In sum, botan­i­cal agen­cies are far from apo­lit­i­cal actors in these new iter­a­tions of market-conservation but active par­tic­i­pants in a new age of green grabbing.


  • Labour;
  • Sci­en­tific insti­tu­tions;
  • Polit­i­cal ecol­ogy;
  • Green grab­bing;
  • Bio­prospect­ing;
  • Bio­di­ver­sity off­sets;
  • Mada­gas­car;
  • Africa

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