Land reform in South Africa's national parks: A catalyst for the human-nature nexus
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Traditional conservation policy, which seeks to preserve land and its resources through access restriction, often conflicts with the needs of local residents who rely on the land and its resources for their livelihoods. Conservationists often view residents as a threat to their conservation efforts, and residents view conservationists as a threat to their economic well-being. A more modern approach to environmental conservation understands the need of local residents to have access to land, wood, water, and other resources for their livelihoods, and recognizes that local residents often utilize traditional knowledge and methods that enable them to contribute to the sustainability of those resources. In South Africa, a land reform policy was instituted as part of the political settlement of 1992-1993 to reverse the injustices of Apartheid. This land reform would grant tenure of land in the national parks to local black tribes that had previously been removed from the land, involving them in conservation policy and enabling them to benefit from the resources.