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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 232-261

The Evolution and Reform of Tanzanian Wildlife Management

1 School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
2 Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, USA; Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies New Haven, CT, USA
3 United Nations Development Programme - Global Environment Facility, Nairobi, Kenya

Correspondence Address:
Fred Nelson
Independent Consultant, P.O. Box 8372, Arusha, Tanzania.

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Natural resource management efforts in sub-Saharan Africa and throughout the tropics widely advocate the increased involvement of local communities in management decisions and processes. In Tanzania, wildlife management is largely centralised, featuring large state-protected areas and strict controls on resource use throughout the colonial and post-independence periods. During the past two decades a policy reform narrative has emerged in Tanzania, strongly supported by donor agencies and foreign conservation organisations, which aims to increase the participation of rural communities and decentralise wildlife management to the local level. Despite official gov­ernment policies calling for these reforms, administrative and legal measures enacted during the past 10 years have, contrastingly, increased central con­trol over wildlife and reduced the rights of rural communities. This diver­gence between the rhetoric of policy statements and management practice is best explained by the historical legacy of centralised control over wildlife and the institutional disincentives to devolving authority that have become entrenched within Tanzania's wildlife bureaucracy. These factors undermine efforts to reform the country's wildlife sector and reflect fundamental political economic challenges facing natural resource decentralisation efforts throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa and the developing world.

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