Community-driven approaches for sustainable conservation and economic benefits: contradictory and complementary aspects of Ehirovipuka and Nyae Nyae conservancies in Namibia
Research Seminar by Dr Selma Lendelvo, Head of Life Sciences Division of the Multi-Disciplinary Research Centre of the University of Namibia
11th July, 4-5.30pm, CM.G24
Supported by the Centre for the Environmental Humanities
and the Global Academy of Liberal Arts
We are pleased to welcome Dr Lendelvo, Head of Life Sciences Division of the Multi-Disciplinary Research Centre of the University of Namibia, to give a research seminar at BSU, hosted jointly by the Global Academy of Liberal Arts and the Centre for Environmental Humanities. Dr Lendelvo sits on Namibia’s Nature Conservation Board (Ministry of Environment and Tourism) and is a national expert on the diverse benefits and tensions that can arise between wildlife conservation and local welfare in Namibia.
Seminar abstract: Wildlife conservation in community-led conservancies in Namibia has been adopted by rural communities over the past two decades. Despite the opportunities and challenges experienced by communities, the programme initiatives are becoming more and more imbedded in the local customary and livelihood systems. This talk presents a case study of two conservancies from distinct geographical and cultural environments but with related conservation outcomes and experiences. The constant wildlife management approach in the Ehirovipuka and Nyae Nyae conservancies could arguably be due to the presence of conducive wildlife habitats resulting from low human population densities and locations that border on National Parks. In these conservancies, there tends to be similar conservation practices including wildlife monitoring and managing hunting contracts over the years, and similar governance and benefit structures coupled with like-minded attitudes and perceptions towards conservation. Although the customs and traditional livelihoods of these communities are different, these two communities are characterised by nomadic or movement lifestyles. While the people in Ehirovipuka are pastoralists and move with the cattle over long distances in search of pasture and water, the Nyae Nyae area is inhabited by hunter-gatherers who travel long distance for hunting and collection of veld foods. Both have little reliance on crop production. Human-wildlife conflict (HWC) has been identified as a spill-over cost to communities resulting from conservation efforts, probably exacerbated by sharing borders with National Parks. Although not sufficiently quantified, the benefits from conservation in the two communities have been positively embraced and are used to mitigate against and reduce HWC. In conclusion, alternative economic opportunities from hunting, eco-tourism and enterprise development have strengthened local systems to support and improve community livelihood diversification and resilience. Also, the traditional knowledge systems resulting from historical co-existence with wildlife and landscape knowledge have been fortified with modern capacity and skills to generate successful local managers in these conservancies that are today applying adaptive and sustainable wildlife management approaches.