Livelihood opportunity and diversity in Kalahari Wildlife Management Areas, Botswana: Rethinking community resource management
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The likelihood opportunities open to people, and the diverse portfolios of activities that make up a living, are now key areas of conceptual and empirical research. Similarly, community-based natural resource management initiatives are currently receiving widespread attention in both policy and academic circles. This paper draws on research conducted in western Botswana, which examined community development and wildlife management in a Kalahari Wildlife Management Area. It focuses on the livelihood dynamics of residents living in two remote settlements in the Wildlife Management Area. These livelihood dynamics are closely linked with the complex history of resource use and conflict in the area. Hunting and gathering, two key livelihood activities, are examine din detail. The paper argues that, although the natural resource base has changed, and use of natural resources has in many cases dwindled, livelihoods based on these resources remain important in terms of cultural identity, symbolic significance and as a real and perceived safety net in times of stress. These findings have both positive and negative consequences for the proposed community-based natural resource management initiatives in the area. The dynamics of people's livelihoods are not always recognised by those implementing the changes. Community-based natural resource management projects have the potential to embrace social justice and ecological sustainability. However they also have the potential to undermine rural populations' individual and collective actions to manage their resources base and maintain viable livelihood strategies at a range of levels.
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