Abstract:

Integrating community sustainability with conservation goals, a case study in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa

L Phadima¹, P Xulu¹, S Mnguni¹,  P Cryer²

¹Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Scientific Services Division, Socio-Ecological Science, PO Box 13053, Cascades 3202
²African Conservation Trust

KwaZulu-Natal has lost over most of its natural areas, and with the reality of increasing human population, current conservation methods are struggling to protect ecologically sensitive areas without infringing on communities and their livelihoods. Past and current approaches to integrating conservation goals with human development have largely been top down, and the trend has continued this way even though the large body of community based natural resource management proves the top down approaches to be ineffective. The tendency is to speak “modern” and react to conservation challenges with old and known-ineffective approaches. The result of which have been continued human and wildlife conflict and incursions on nature reserves by resentful local communities, undermining the potential role of conservation to human wellbeing. At Mkhuze, we’ve spent the last 8 months applying what we term participatory biodiversity conservation, using Participatory Rural Appraisal methods such as Time line, Rich Picture, Ranking, etc to empower communities to make decisions on their preferred mixed land use options that allow the integration of conservation goals with building sustainable communities. This approach is being pursued to make a case for the need to view and weigh this long, protracted and somewhat painstaking exercise to conservation in practice against the actual realizable conservation goals of the country, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal where much of critical biodiversity land is unprotected. Emerging issues are that; Nature reserves are commonly perceived as social implements that allow white people to take away black people’s land. The community’s view of a neighboring community conservation area has resulted in them viewing community conservation areas as post-apartheid mechanisms for achieving the same outcome. Much as PRA methods are painstakingly long (taking close to 10 months) and often very frustrating, they need to be viewed at (and strongly supported) against their potential for securing critical biodiversity land. The next challenge will be the translation of participatory planning to actualise the link between conservation and sustainable communities. This will require consistency of approach, establishment of strong and legitimate institutional structures, and we think that we’re on the right track.

Presentation Topic

Integrating community sustainability with conservation goals, a case study in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa

 

Contact Ms Mnguni:

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Scientific Services Division, Socio-Ecological Science, PO Box 13053, Cascades 3202

 

Email Ms Mnguni