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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 218-231

Austere Conservation: Understanding Conflicts over Resource Governance in Tanzanian Wildlife Management Areas


1 Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
2 Institute of International Forestry and Forest Products, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany
3 Department of Wildlife Management, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania

Correspondence Address:
Jevgeniy Bluwstein
Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen
Denmark
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.191156

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We explore how the regime of rules over access to land, natural, and financial resources reflects the degree of community ownership of a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Tanzania. Being discursively associated with participatory and decentralised approaches to natural resource management, WMA policies have the ambition to promote the empowerment of communities to decide over rules that govern access to land and resources. Our purpose is to empirically examine the spaces for popular participation in decision-making over rules of management created by WMA policies: that is, in what sense of the word are WMAs actually community-based? We do this by studying conflicts over the regime of rules over access to land and resources. Analytically, we focus on actors, their rights and meaningful powers to exert control over resource management, and on accountability relationships amongst the actors. Our findings suggest that WMAs foster very limited ownership, participation and collective action at the community level, because WMA governance follows an austere logic of centralized control over key resources. Thus, we suggest that it is difficult to argue that WMAs are community-owned conservation initiatives until a genuinely devolved and more flexible conservation model is implemented to give space for popular participation in rule-making.


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