Integration through conservation partnerships: experience from Tanzania’s wildlife sector

Authors: RUTH JOHN*,
Topics: Natural Resources, Human-Environment Geography, Environment
Keywords: conservation partnerships, wildlife management areas, power dynamics, wildlife utilization, livelihood, crop damage
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Roosevelt 3, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Ruth W. John
PhD student, University of Dar es Salaam (
Abstract for the AAG conference 2019

Integration through conservation partnerships: experience from Tanzania’s wildlife sector
Many African countries have witnessed the emergence of different kinds of wildlife protection partnerships since the 1980s. In Tanzania, protection of wildlife outside core-protected areas has seen the development of Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) as an important form of partnership between the government, local communities, private businesses, conservation organizations and development partners. WMAs are central to many debates about conservation and development. Conceptually, this paper builds on the political ecology literature to explore the power dynamics that determine who benefits and who loses in WMA partnerships. Drawing from fieldwork in Rufiji district, I show that a few powerful partners determine access to wildlife by local communities, control funds and make most decisions about the use of land, sometimes without villagers ‘consent. Rather than promoting local development, conservation partnerships have had unequal social impacts due to continued restrictions on wildlife utilization, thus fostering different kinds of livelihood insecurities. I set these changes within broader economic dynamics which have seen the rise of new cash crops which are less vulnerable to wildlife damage. These could alter the economic and political costs and benefits associated with new wildlife partnerships.

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