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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 : 2008  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 87-97

Enclosing the Local for the Global Commons: Community Land Rights in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area


1 Department of Culture, Organisation and Management, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1081, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 P.O. Box 11536, Hatfield, Pretoria, 0028 South Africa

Correspondence Address:
Marja Spierenburg
Department of Culture, Organisation and Management, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1081, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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The Great Limpopo is one of the largest Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) in the world, encom­passing vast areas in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. By arguing that residents living in or close to the TFCA will participate in its management and benefit economically, TFCA proponents claim social legitimacy for the project. The establishment of the Great Limpopo required negotiations among the three nation states, different government departments within these states and various donors contrib­uting funds. This article explores how these negotiations and interactions affected the institutional choices made with regards to the management of the Great Limpopo and how these shaped the control and benefits of local residents. This article examines the differences among the different actors in terms of power and capacities, which are often ignored in the promotion of TFCAs. By comparing the experi­ences of local residents in the South African part of the TFCA with those in Mozambique, the cases show how international negotiations interact with national policies of decentralisation to shape and sometimes even disable local government institutions.


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