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A Critical Evaluation of Conservation and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

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A Critical Evaluation of Conservation and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

Abstract

This 7 volume book begins with pre-historic man and finishes at the beginning of the 21st century. It covers both terrestrial and aquatic conservation issue and suggests a possible way forward. Parks and protected areas are rapidly becoming hard-edged, surrounded by a human population living a subsistence life style, and expected to increase from 622 million to between 1.5-1.8 billion people in the next 50 years. The soils and savannas of the subcontinent, as currently used, have far exceeded their capacity to provide an acceptable quality of life for the majority of rural inhabitants. Undernourishment and malnutrition, poverty, high infant mortality, a lack of educational opportunities and poor health care are endemic. To make matters worse, economies tend to be stagnant or declining with negative per capita Gross Domestic Products (GDPs). Given these pressures, one has to ask, how the natural systems and revered mega-fauna of Sub-Saharan Africa can possibly be expected to survive this human wave flowing over the continent. Already, there are only scattered pockets of wildlife left across the Sahel, a condition which is the combined result of man-induced climate change and habitat degradation linked to agriculture and livestock. This book delves into how the subcontinent has ended up in this precarious situation. The book draws on the authors’ combined 50 years of experience in ecological policy and planning for the U.S. government in the U.S., East and Southern Africa and the Caribbean, as well as for Sub-Saharan African governments, especially those of Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea and South Africa. It furthermore benefits from their representation of the sport hunting/conservation fraternity on the subcontinent, as well as from what has been learned from traditional hunters and other resource users in countries ranging from Senegal to Zambia. This book assesses the successes and failures of conservation and development to both conserve Sub-Saharan Africa’s wildlife and other natural resources, as well as to sustainably use these resources as catalysts for development of the subcontinent and advancement of its people. Color and B&W photo figures in back of document.
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... To continue blindly along this line of thinking is just as bad as being in the animal rights movement -as in the long-term it will mean the demise of Africa's wildlife and a bleak future for its people. This is because: 1) Due to capture of benefi ts linked to wildlife by the other stakeholders (government, safari and tourism operators), and due to the low resource to population ratio, CBNRM (Community Based Natural Resource Management) benefi ts tend to be negligible at the level of the household and are mostly used for common property benefi ts such as roads, schools, clinics, boreholes, etc. [1,2] These benefi ts on their own are important, but may not stop traditional resource users (e.g., hunters, sawyers, fi shers, wild medicine collectors, etc.) from poaching to feed their families unless they are integrated into the management of these areas, and/or from converting natural systems into man-made systems (e.g., for agriculture and livestock). ...
... To continue blindly along this line of thinking is just as bad as being in the animal rights movement -as in the long-term it will mean the demise of Africa's wildlife and a bleak future for its people. This is because: 1) Due to capture of benefi ts linked to wildlife by the other stakeholders (government, safari and tourism operators), and due to the low resource to population ratio, CBNRM (Community Based Natural Resource Management) benefi ts tend to be negligible at the level of the household and are mostly used for common property benefi ts such as roads, schools, clinics, boreholes, etc. [1,2] These benefi ts on their own are important, but may not stop traditional resource users (e.g., hunters, sawyers, fi shers, wild medicine collectors, etc.) from poaching to feed their families unless they are integrated into the management of these areas, and/or from converting natural systems into man-made systems (e.g., for agriculture and livestock). ...
... As one resident responded, living alongside Bwindi Impenetrable Forest that had been turned into a gorilla reserve -with benefi ts promised from eco-tourism, "Your schools, clinics and roads are well and good, but they don't fi ll empty bellies or pay school fees. We want access to the forest" [1,3] for timber that earned them money from pit sawing, bushmeat, etc. and, 2) 70-90 percent of foreign aid returns to the donor country with very little reaching the poorest of the poor [1]. Foreign aid, if properly used could change the face of Africa, creating a large urban middleclass while conserving Africa's unique mega-fauna and habitat. ...
Article
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The following is a policy document based upon 30 years being involved in Sub-Saharan African conservation, advising African Governments, the U.S. Government and the hunting/conservation communities on the major issues holding back the economic development of the region and ultimately the future of its much revered mega-fauna. Ultimately, to save Africa's wildlife, we must provide a viable future for the people living with the wildlife. Currently, this is not the case. The current situation is explained with accompanying photographs that support these observations. Foreign aid as currently practiced has failed to achieve these goals. Reasons for this failure are discussed and recommendations made so that foreign aid can play a major role in changing the face of Africa by giving its people and in turn their wildlife a viable future.
... Other studies e.g. [15] suggested the use of pre-existing informal traditional management and control systems to maximize local participation and for success of biodiversity conservation. ...
... Other studies e.g. [15] existing informal traditional management and control systems to aximize local participation and for success of ...
... High seed predation and low germination rates in some species, competition with pasture grasses, stressful microclimatic conditions, lack of soil nutrients, reduced mycorrhizal inoculum, and herbivory affect seedling establishment [21] A number of other studies have also demonstrated that some native species show growth rates in disturbed areas similar to those of more commonly used exotic species [19]; this might also be the case to the well grown species in this project. To increase the effectiveness of conservation projects, some studies suggest sustainable harvesting program with the local swayers and charcoal makers [15]. Such program will be operated in the exotic trees planted adjacent to Magombera Forest Reserve as an alternative for Magombera Forest. ...
Article
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The Magombera forest is a home of endemic and endangered biological species such as Udzungwa red colobus monkey (Procolobus gordonorum) and the Magombera chameleon (Kinyongia magomberae). However, the forest is facing high threat of disappearing through resources extraction pressure from adjacent local communities. The project aimed at improving conservation of Magombera forest by involving the adjacent communities through provision of conservation education, restoration initiatives and bee keeping as alternative livelihoods. The study revealed that the concept of forest conservation is well supported. Nevertheless, people are extracting resources from the forest for their subsistence. The dependence of the people on the forest is due to lack of alternatives to the forest resources, inability of the people to produce alternatives source of income and little conservation education. The project resulted in a community Original Research Article Mahulu et al.; AJEE, 9(4): 1-9, 2019; Article no.AJEE.50158 2 having a positive attitude change towards conservation. The improved bee keeping was introduced to the community and successfully adopted. About 89% of indigenous trees planted for restoring the degraded area of the forest survived, only 11% of trees planted could not survive. There is a need to expand the scale of the project by involving many participants particularly youths that showed strong interest in the project.
... This had been accomplished with no ecological purpose (e.g., maintenance of biodiversity) in mind, as we understand it, but out of a sheer instinct for self-preservation. Conservation of game animals and fish was necessary in order to provide for survival in the future [40]. ...
... Colonialism excluded African beliefs in the intrinsic power and value of nature in favour of Western Judeo-Christian tenets of taming and civilizing nature [41]. As in North America, it suited colonial incomers to overlook signs of native alteration of the landscape; the apparent absence of indigenous improvements, helping to justify the removal of indigenous people from tribal lands to make way for the more sophisticated European settler [40]. ...
... It is estimated that 750,000 people died of hunger between 1894 and 1899. Also, it is estimated that human populations in the East Africa/Great Lakes region did not return to pre-1890s levels until the 1950s [40]. At a crucial stage in the retreat of man and cattle from the advancement of nature, a new ecological balance was established in which "nature" and "not man" was in control [39,43]. ...
Technical Report
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The author gives a personal view of wildlife and development in Africa based on 30 years of experience as well as academic study. Unless there are sustainable African solutions, the politics of despair will lead to catastrophe. Please note a minor error in the Abstract & Executive Summary should be 20th instead of 21st Century. This is an historic overview of conservation in Sub-Saharan Africa from pre-colonial times through the present. It demonstrates that Africans practiced conservation that was ignored by the colonial powers. The colonial market economy combined with the human and livestock population explosion of the 20 st century are the major factors contributing to the demise of wildlife and critical habitat. Unique insight is provided into the economics of a representative safari company, something that has not been readily available to Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) practitioners. Modern attempts at sharing benefits from conservation with rural communities will fail due to the low rural resource to population ratio regardless of the model, combined with the uneven distribution of profits from safari hunting that drives most CBNRM programs, unless these ratios are changed. Low household incomes from CBNRM are unlikely to change attitudes of rural dwellers towards Western approaches to conservation. Communities must sustainably manage their natural areas as "green factories" for the multitude of natural resources they contain as a means of maximizing employment and thus household incomes, as well as meeting the often overlooked socio-cultural ties to wildlife and other natural resources, which may be as important as direct material benefits in assuring conservation of wildlife and its habitat. For CBNRM to be successful in the long-term, full devolution of ownership over land and natural resources must take place. In addition, as a means of relieving pressure on the rural resource base, this will require an urbanization process that creates a middleclass, as opposed to the current slums that form the majority of Africa‘s cities, through industrialization that transforms the unique natural resources of the subcontinent (e.g., strategic minerals, petroleum, wildlife, hardwoods, fisheries, wild medicines, agricultural products, etc.) in Africa
... In South Africa, DeGeorges and Reilly (2008) report that colonial rules excluded Africans from hunting because their methods were deemed 'un-sporting'. They introduced the Game Law Amendment of 1891, based on British Laws which banned Africans in South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe from their traditional hunting practices (DeGeorges and Reilly 2008;Murombedzi 2003). Such thinking disrupted local resource-use practices and notions of negotiated access to natural resources (Maddox et al. 1996), of communal property relations and customary land resources in African societies (Noe 2019). ...
Article
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Given growing human influence on the earth system’s functioning, caring for nature has never been this critical. However, whether for economic interests or ‘wilderness’ preservation, attempts to save nature have been grounded on a Western scientific philosophy of separating it from people’s ways of living, especially through ‘protected areas’. Under the banner ‘convivial conservation’, which advocates socio-ecological justice and structural transformations in the global economic system, an alternative idea called ‘promoted areas’ has been proposed, advocating for conservation which promotes nature for, to, and by humans. Here, we argue that ‘promoted areas’ are best fitted with decolonial thinking in conservation science and practice. In southern Africa, one available ‘decolonial option’ is Ubuntu philosophy, which is anchored on the ethical principle of promoting life through mutual caring and sharing between and among humans and nonhumans. Ubuntu disengages from western ways of knowing about human–environment interactions, as it is predicated on promoting the many links between humans and nonhumans. From this, we argue that instituted through Ubuntu, ‘promoted areas’ re-initiate a harmony between human beings and physical nature, as practices of individualistic, excessive extractions of nonhuman nature are discouraged, and human–nonhuman relationships based on respect, solidarity, and collaboration are celebrated.
... The TEK of Africans assists residents in shunning negative behavioural patterns that could have negative ramifications for the resources in the environment (Essel, 2020). Their viability in preventing the wanton abuse of the natural resources is because they are incorporated in the cosmo-vision or beliefs of the people ((DeGeorges & Reilly, 2008). The intelligent forebears developed them from personal experience and critical observations of nature via systematic procedures by analyzing, and series of experimentations (Ajani et al., 2013;Rigsby, 2006). ...
Article
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The cultural practices in many African societies are often misconstrued as idolatrous practices. While some of the cultural practices are counter-productive, many others intelligently showcase the science of the African forebears in the field of nature conservation, specifically, the sound management of landmass, water bodies, flora, fauna, and aquatic species. Adopting the PRISMA systematic review, Ninety-Six published literature on cultural practices and traditional ecological knowledge for natural resource management such as taboo systems, cosmological belief systems, and totems in some African ethnic societies were scholarly analysed and interpreted, with inferences drawn for contemporary use in the management of the scarce resources in Africa. The findings indicate that these productive cultural practices were cleverly formulated by the African forebears to prevent the wanton looting of nature’s resources while jealously and sustainably protecting them for the current and future generations. The study contends that the restricted times, number, and aspects of nature’s resources for harvesting, the affiliation of nature’s resources to vengeful deities and respected ancestors in the society as well as the earmarking of particular spots as sacred groves are scientific strategies set by the African forebears to sustainably manage the resources in their environment for posterity. Therefore, such traditional instruments for nature resource management must be constantly included in policies and strategies in modern biodiversity and environmental policies for African countries.
... Many previous epidemiological surveys and studies on knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP surveys) identified certain rabies vaccination barriers and human rabies risk factors and captured the relative importance of social and cultural factors in the field of rabies control and elimination (Digafe et al., 2015;Kaare et al., 2009;Matibag et al., 2007;Sambo et al., 2014;;Schildecker et al., 2017;Wallace et al., 2017 among others). Yet, our study illustrates that vaccination coverage is clearly influenced by local dog ownership practices, which in turn are mediated by several contextual factors: historical, social, cultural, political, economic, and ecological, particularly here in relation with the colonial period, the establishment of Protected Areas on land traditionally occupied and used by indigenous people, and the Kruger National Park (KNP) management (Anthony, 2007;Cock & Fig, 2000;DeGeorges & Reilly, 2008). ...
Article
Rabies is efficiently controlled through mass vaccination of dogs. In an area of South Africa where free vaccination campaigns were implemented following rabies re-emergence, the required 70% vaccination coverage was challenging to reach. Understanding the factors affecting the efficiency of mass vaccination is helpful in guiding long-term rabies control efforts. This study aimed to assess the communities’ knowledge and perceptions of dogs, rabies and the related risk, and control behaviors in a rural rabies-endemic interface area. Combined with informal discussions and participative observations, we organized 18 focus group discussions with men, women, and children – stratified by dog ownership status – in three villages in the Mnisi community in the Mpumalanga Province in north-east South Africa. This community highly valued hunting dogs despite hunting of wildlife being illegal. Although people did not have a clear idea of how dogs acquire rabies, they were aware of the presence of the disease and its zoonotic nature. A dog bite was always associated with rabies risk but was also a source of conflict between dog owners and bite victims, hampering bite health care management. Dog vaccination was perceived as a means to prevent diseases from spreading to humans and other animals, not only to protect dogs from diseases but also to cure disease. Lack of awareness, misinterpretation of health promotion messages, and specific beliefs among adults seemed to hinder participation in rabies vaccination campaigns. Involving and educating staff from clinics and wildlife reserves during vaccination campaigns would tackle rumors, clarify dog bite and dog vaccination procedures, and improve the relationship among stakeholders. Further anthropological studies, focusing on people owning dogs for hunting, may provide a better understanding of rabies transmission patterns and risk factors in this community.
... The society as a whole enforced the rules and norms, thereby promoting stringent compliance. Thus, historically, these systems and values kept human natural resource use in check (Lewis et al. (1990); DeGeorges & Reilly, 2008). ...
... The 11 th CITES Conference of Parties (Cop) held in Nairobi, Kenya acknowledged the importance and seriousness of the illegal bushmeat trade. It constituted a Bushmeat Working Group (BWG), comprising of Central and West African range states as a result of concerns that many threatened species were being eaten into extinction and begin harmonizing legislation and coordination with regard to the bushmeat trade [4]. ...
Article
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Abstract- A recent IUCN report evaluates the state of West and Central Africa’s terrestrial and freshwater fauna and highlights the inadequacy of responses to rapid wildlife decline in the region. The report attributes erosion of the region’s biodiversity to several factors, including unsustainable resource exploitation, as well as hunting for bushmeat and illegal wildlife trade. The capture methods of wildlife and their impact in the catchment area of a rural bushmeat market were investigated. Data collections were undertaken over a 4-month period: March-April (dry) and May-June (rainy). In the dry season, wildlife captured by traps (snares) constituted 6866 (59.3%), while those shot were 4713 (40.7%). However, the difference was not significant. In the rainy season, wildlife captured by traps (snares) were 2306 (64.8%) and those shot were 1254 (35.2%). Four types of traps were identified: Iron trap (Ntigwe), Neck trap (Ntogboba), Waist trap (Nkulu), Foot trap. Shotgun was the main type of gun, although occasionally sophisticated weapons was were identified. The impacts of these capture methods on offtake trends; function, structure and composition of ecosystem are discussed. The paper concludes with suggestions on conservation and sustainability. Key Words: Wildlife, Capture Methods, Catchment Area, Bushmeat Market, Nigeria
... The 11 th CITES Conference of Parties (Cop) held in Nairobi, Kenya acknowledged the importance and seriousness of the illegal bushmeat trade. It constituted a Bushmeat Working Group (BWG), comprising of Central and West African range states as a result of concerns that many threatened species were being eaten into extinction and begin harmonizing legislation and coordination with regard to the bushmeat trade [4]. ...
Article
Full-text available
A recent IUCN report evaluates the state of West and Central Africa’s terrestrial and freshwater fauna and highlights the inadequacy of responses to rapid wildlife decline in the region. The report attributes erosion of the region’s biodiversity to several factors, including unsustainable resource exploitation, as well as hunting for bushmeat and illegal wildlife trade. The capture methods of wildlife and their impact in the catchment area of a rural bushmeat market were investigated. Data collections were undertaken over a 4-month period: March-April (dry) and May-June (rainy). In the dry season, wildlife captured by traps (snares) constituted 6866 (59.3%), while those shot were 4713 (40.7%). However, the difference was not significant. In the rainy season, wildlife captured by traps (snares) were 2306 (64.8%) and those shot were 1254 (35.2%). Four types of traps were identified: Iron trap (Ntigwe), Neck trap (Ntogboba), Waist trap (Nkulu), Foot trap. Shotgun was the main type of gun, although occasionally sophisticated weapons was were identified. The impacts of these capture methods on offtake trends, function, structure and composition of ecosystem are discussed. The paper concludes with suggestions on conservation and sustainability.
Chapter
Wildlife conservation is a topic that has captured public imagination in both developed and developing nations. This is evident by the creation and establishment of protected areas such as national parks and trans-boundary protected areas. In addition to their fundamental role of protecting natural resources, protected areas largely have the vital task of supporting tourism and socio-economic development of local communities. However, with the establishment of protected areas, the concept of communities’ dependence on natural resources has been ignored and protection of biodiversity taken precedence. Consequently, the prioritization of conservation over livelihoods has led to the widespread notion that conservation is a threat to development. Conservationists, on the other hand, assert that the onslaught of development is dependent on the same resources it threatens. This study evaluates the relationship between community development and nature conservation efforts among the Chitsa community and Gonarezhou National Park (GNP) in South-Eastern Zimbabwe amid climate change. In order to achieve the aim of the study, critical ethnography was employed, and utilized semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and life histories as data collection methods. Findings of the study reveal that nature conservation and community development have long represented contrasts in both research and practice. Of significance are imbalances that favour analyses and prioritization of nature conservation over community development outcomes supported by natural resources in resource dependent communities. It appears that nature conservation focuses on the strict protection of natural resources and ignores aspects of social and political processes involved in it hence it limits the people’s ability too adapt to climate change.
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