National borders are often viewed as the ‘soft underbelly’ of state authorities struggling with security threats, both real and imagined, as the ambiguity of identity and control in border-lands sets up a tension between security and evasion.
While the Afghanistan-Pakistan border is porous at the other end of the spectrum is the ‘lock-down’ demilitarized zone between North and South Korea; and sharing characteristics of both is the Amexica border-land between The United States and Mexico, the location of the drug ‘wars’ that has been interpreted as ‘the first real 21st century war’ (Edward Vuillamy: Amexica: War Along the Borderline).
Meanwhile the impact of this divisiveness upon biodiversity is heightened by the enormous Border Fence erected by The United States consisting of over 60 miles of non-porous border fencing with another 150 miles of porous fencing.
However another perspective on borderlands is that they offer a platform for collaboration between competing interests, especially concerning important biodiversity which can be formalized into Transboundary Conservation Areas (TBCA).
The Sonoran Desert Biosphere Reserve Network is a TBCA which straddles the border between north west Mexico and south west USA; it is a global biodiversity ‘hotspot’ and contains both the last Jaguars and largest sand-sea in North America as well as the Sky Islands, a chain of forested mountain peaks that rise from cactus-scrub plains.
– Jasper Humphreys, The Marjan Centre