Principles for community participation in management of protected areas

Get Complete Project Material File(s) Now! »


“We can never get a re-creation of community and heal our society without giving our citizens a sense of belonging.” (Patch Adams)


Tourism in Sub-Saharan Africa has grown considerably in recent years, which has a marked impact on development; in fact, 7% of the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) is derived from travel and tourism (DeVivo, 2012). By 2022, more than 50 million tourists throughout the region are expected to contribute over US$44 billion to the region’s economy (DeVivo, 2012). In South Africa alone, the tourism industry is expected to be responsible for the direct and indirect employment of nearly 10% of the country’s labour force by 2022. The country’s current 10 million international annual tourists are expected to grow to almost 14 million by 2022, generating over US$15 billion and contributing to 8% of its overall export revenue (DeVivo, 2012).
The purpose of this chapter is to review literature related to the aim and objectives of this study, the perceptions of community participation in conservation, ecotourism and social development. As this research falls within the community-based conservation and ecotourism focus, there is need to conceptualise community participation and perceptions around it. Various determinants and influences of community engagement in protected area management are examined in this section.
A theoretical framework of community-based conservation and ecotourism (CBC& E) places this study in its proper context, as shown in Figure 2.1. One of the most important issues in protected area management is the land rights issue, linked with the concept of property rights. A review of literature on the processes and outcomes of the restitution of land rights negotiations in South Africa is provided. This study focuses on community facilitation and communication processes within the framework of community-based conservation and ecotourism in private game reserves.
In essence, land rights of local communities in and around protected areas is the theme guiding this discussion. Much research has been conducted to elucidate the relationship of indigenous and/or local communities with the conservation agents (both state and private) responsible for the protected areas. Sustainability of conservation and ecotourism, as one of the major goals of community-based initiatives in protected areas, is also discussed.
A discussion of literature on diverse epistemological perspectives with regard to community participation in protected area management has relevance. Before focusing on the mentioned themes, attention is given to the historical perspective of protected areas and the ontology that guided their establishment, with special focus on Southern Africa. The principles around community participation in the management of protected areas, sustainable wildlife and ecotourism management are examined. Throughout the world, most of the conflict has been the result of disagreement on the spatial distribution and allocation of resources, land being one of the major concerns in the context of Southern Africa, as noted by Guyot (2002). Land has been a contentious issue for centuries. Land rights issues of the communities around protected areas are pursued to reveal what has been explored already and to establish possibilities of any inconsistencies or grey areas that may have remained. The concept of property rights is also explored to clarify the nature of interactions between the local people and conservation and tourism authorities, whether government or private agents.
The discussion of community-based conservation is done jointly with community-based ecotourism, due to the close relationship and interdependence between these two concepts. Community-based management is defined as a bottom-up approach of organisation, which can be facilitated by the upper government or non-governmental organisation (NGO) and it aims at the participation of local stakeholders in planning, research, development, management and policy-making for the community as a whole.
Of interest, are the diverse views reported in the literature on the possibility and nature of involvement of local communities in both wildlife and ecotourism management. A great deal of research has been done on the CBC&E programmes in state owned protected areas (Moyo et al., 1991; Kamphorst et al., 1997; Balint, 2006; Hottola, 2009; Simpson, 2009; Nielsen, 2011, Nelson, 2012). There is also a growing interest in the CBC&E programmes associated with private operators (Mbaiwa, 2003, 2005; Spierenberg et al., 2009; Nelson, 2010; Massyn, 2010). It is also critical for this study to provide an insight into the current thinking among researchers, on the position of benefit-sharing and social development in the whole concept of community participation in conservation and tourism (Infield & Namara, 2001; Balint, 2006; Simpson, 2009; Dudley et al., 2010; Nielsen, 2011; Snyman, 2016). Pegas and Castley (2014) deal with the contribution of private nature reserves to conservation and ecotourism.
Research literature also agrees that the work on community engagement, which has been done thus far, is not extensive. There are still some grey areas, (for example, listening to the voice of grassroots communities and the exploration of effective communication strategies which benefit sustainable conservation and ecotourism), that need to be researched and clarified or confirmed. Poudel et al. (2014) contends that further studies are necessary to analyse in detail the differences between various groups, which include the local residents, tourism and conservation operators, tourist groups and secondary tourism stakeholders. Bello et al. (2016) concluded that there is a need to understand the challenges of different and context-specific limitations, when community participation in tourism management (and also conservation) is applied to developing countries. Bello et al. (2016) expressed the need for advocacy of community participation and the need to incorporate specific strategies that can facilitate community engagement and are tailored for developing countries.
Collaborative theory presents some of the practical strategies which could harmonise relationships and ensure sustainability. According to Ansell and Gash (2008), a virtuous cycle of collaboration tends to develop when collaborative forums focus on “small wins” that deepen trust, commitment and shared understanding. Through iterative process, collaborative partners develop a shared sense of purpose and a shared theory of action for achieving that purpose (Emerson, Nabatchi & Balogh, 2012). Horisch, Edward, Freeman & Schalteggers (2014) identified three challenges of managing stakeholder relationships for sustainability, namely: strengthening the particular sustainability interests of stakeholders, creating and harmonising mutual sustainability interests based on these particular interests and empowering stakeholders to act as agents for nature conservation and sustainable development. To address these challenges, Horisch et al. (2014) suggested three interrelated mechanisms which are education, regulation and sustainability-based vaue creation for stakeholders. Ansell and Gash (2008) added face-to-face dialogue, trust-building, the development of commitment and shared understanding, as critical factors for collaboration process.
In the context of this study, Imran et al. (2014) emphasises the importance of perceptions, values and interests of stakeholders in shaping the nature of tourism development (and hence conservation). The main goal of this research is to explore community facilitation and communication processes, with respect to private game reserves. The findings of Poudel et al. (2014) also support the imperative to identify the stakeholders and examine their values, perceptions and interests, and develop a new model for perceptions to enhance collaboration and communication. This study, therefore, engages the community for its views and opinions on their participation in conservation, ecotourism and social development and, as a result of the process, delivers valuable criticism of the engagement process and provides suggestions for the improvement of community participation in the interest of sustainable development.
This method of engaging with the community at Phinda Private Game Reserve, together with the resultant constructive criticisms and recommendations, can serve as a valuable community engagement framework for private game reserves to involve and work with the surrounding communities. Also, the study may also serve as a baseline for more detailed, broader or related research into community participation in protected area management. Ultimately, the framework may also ensure more sustainable management in private game reserves in the future. The discussion of findings from the literature is done concurrently to capture the main ideas. A relevant starting point of the discussion is establishing the historical background of protected areas.



The motivation for designating protected areas has differed over the years. The earliest national parks were preserved mainly for their scenic and cultural value, and later tourism and wildlife and, more recently, biodiversity have been the driving forces behind protection (Dudley et al., 2010). Over centuries, nature protection efforts have focused on separating the pristine from the peopled by setting aside national parks and protected areas. Special attention has been given to conservation at the expense of local communities. As Naguran (2002) observed from the earliest days, local communities were evicted from areas designated as reserves (Kamphorst et al., 1997; Naguran, 2002; Ngubane & Diab, 2005; Rechlin & Taylor, 2008; Nustad & Sundnes, 2011). Historically, control over land has always been vital to the livelihoods of the world’s poorest people; lack of access to land not only denies the rural people the ability to grow or to gather their own food, it also alienate them from a source of power (Laudati, 2007).
In the USA, the National Parks Services, as well as conservation advocates, initiated the complete separation of untouched nature from humans, originating from the “Yellowstone Model” of conservation (Nash, 2014). Settlement in parks was prohibited and using the resources in a park, either for subsistence or commercial purposes, was banned (Rechlin & Taylor, 2008).
Adams and Mulligan (2006) point out that the origins of nature conservation became grounded in the ‘colonial mind-set’. The American “Yellowstone Model” became the globally accepted model of conservation in the 20th Century and the exclusion of local residents from protected areas and natural parks became common and accepted policy (Adams & Mulligan, 2006; Nash, 2014). For much of this century, conservation of nature often resulted in the forced removal, both physically and rhetorically, of local indigenous people who had lived on lands for generations were purported to be pristine (Rechlin & Taylor, 2008). Resident communities have been regarded as completely incompatible with protection of species, ecosystems and biodiversity (Bramwell & Lane, 2012). Implementation of conservation strategies was based on erroneous assumptions that local communities show no stewardship for protected areas and no restraint from expanding their agricultural production (Laudati, 2007)
Economic and legal instruments were used in the late nineteenth century and most of the twentieth century to exclude African farmers from increasingly lucrative markets like wildlife and tourism (Jacobsohn, 1991). At first the authorities started to make it difficult and then impossible for Africans to use land outside the nature reserves in the more remote areas that had been set aside for them. Conflict, mutual distrust and animosity characterised many relationships between local residents and protected areas in Africa and in other parts of the developing world (Jacobsohn, 1991; Cleaver, 2005; Jones, 2013).
In Zimbabwe, the Land Husbandry Act of 1951 (Kamphorst et al., 1997) was introduced to ‘improve’ conservation and agricultural productivity in communal areas. However, the conservation of natural resources was enforced with further restriction of access to these resources. For example, during the 1960s, the Rhodesian government expropriated a large section of land in the south-eastern corner of the country to create a game reserve that is currently known as Gonarezhou National Park (Balint, 2006).
Local communities perceived conservation methods as a tool of oppression because they were denied access to land, wildlife and other natural resources, and the movement of their cattle was also restricted (Kamphorst et al., 1997). The relationship between the local populations and both the proponents of conservation and governing authorities deteriorated due to the American “Yellowstone model” adopted by most countries (Rechlin & Taylor, 2008). In South Africa, Kruger National Park was established in 1926 and was based on the exclusionist principles. The area was fenced off, local communities forcibly removed and benefits went primarily to whites. The brutality of the Apartheid regime is comparable to that of Renamo on the rural communities of southern Mozambique (Lunstrum, 2007), in which residents were essentially scared out of the villages through terror-induced fright including destruction of shelter, clothing, livestock, food, mutilations, rape and even death. In 1969, the Makuleke community was evicted from their ancestral land, the northern part of Kruger National Park (Bosch, 2003). The Ndumo Game Reserve in Maputaland District of KZN was proclaimed a game reserve in 1924 with the primary goal being strict protection of its biodiversity (Naguran, 2002). As a result, the Mbangweni community, who were the original inhabitants of the land, were evicted from the areas and lost all their rights to their ancestral land, just like millions of other black people in different parts of Africa (Naguran, 2002).

1.1 Background
1.2 Research problem, question and aim
1.3 Research design and methodology
1.4 Sequence of chapters
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Historical perspective of establishing protected areas
2.3 Principles for community participation in management of protected areas
2.4 Active participation in benefit-sharing and social development
2.5 Summary
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Historical background of &Beyond
3.3 Africa Foundation
3.4 Summary
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Qualitative paradigm
4.3 Adapted nominal group technique (ANGT)
4.4 Research themes
4.5 Analysis of findings
4.6 Reliability and validity
4.7 Summary
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Background of study area and process
5.3 Interviews with community members and Phinda employees
5.4 Interviews with members of Management at Phinda
5.5 Interviews with Phinda Private Game Reserve Management
5.6 Interviews with Africa Foundation Management
5.7 Results from Adapted Nominal Group Technique
5.8 Summary
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Knowledge and understanding of restitution of land rights and community expectations
6.3 The perceptions and attitudes of local residents on their participation in wildlife management
6.4 The perceptions and attitudes of local residents on their participation in tourism
6.5 The perceptions and attitudes of local residents on their participation in social development
6.6 Participation in benefit-sharing
6.7 Issues worth noting
6.8 Summary
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Synthesis
7.3 Limitations of the research
7.4 Implications of findings on conservation, tourism, social development and benefit-sharing
7.5 Placement of the research study within literature
7.6 Recommendations for further research
7.7 Conclusion

Related Posts