Wild resources management in southern Africa: Participation, partnerships, ecoregions and redistribution
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In rural southern Africa, access to wild resources is critical to livelihoods and various attempts have been made by policy-makers to increase the income derived from them by poor communities. This article examines the existing and emerging institutional arrangements in the tourism/safari hunting and forestry sectors and assesses their impact on livelihoods. Case studies of wildlife and forestry management initiatives are drawn from the Eastern Cape (South Africa), Chiredzi district (Zimbabwe) and Zambézia province (Mozambique). Four types of initiative are described: community participation; partnerships or joint ventures between communities and the private sector; ecoregional conservation and redistributive measures. A key trend is the emergence of a number of policy approaches that seek to link private sector tourism and forestry operations with community or local involvement, usually with an emphasis on "pro-poor" commercial investment. The danger is that these policies will constrain more than they enable poor people's access to resources and income and will benefit local elites, the private sector and the state more than the poor. However, where the state is willing and able to prioritise local issues when trade-offs arise and/or communities have firm legal or de facto rights over land with high commercial value, the new "pro-poor" policies for the management of wild resources do hold out some hope for improving rural livelihoods.
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