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An evaluation of the community conservation service at Tarangire and Lake Manyara national parks in Tanzania

An evaluation of the community conservation service at Tarangire and Lake Manyara national parks in Tanzania

Dembe, Ezekiel Aman (2009) An evaluation of the community conservation service at Tarangire and Lake Manyara national parks in Tanzania. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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Africa adopted the Yellowstone model of 'in situ' conservation, and established systems of national parks, which excluded people from living within these 'fortress parks'. Despite the strict protection - often through paramilitary-style enforcement - national parks in Africa are faced with increasing threats from impoverished local communities whose dependence on natural resources is growing. Biodiversity conservation is widely failing because parks are becoming 'islands' of conservation; ecosystems are collapsing and there are inadequate policies and management systems in place to address these challenges.

Some countries including Tanzania have adopted community conservation (CC) approaches for the purpose of gaining the support of local communities. This study examines one of these CC approaches the outreach programme of the Community Conservation Service (CCS) of Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) in respect of its effectiveness in engaging local people with the conservation effort, and thereby assesses its role in securing a better future for the National Parks of Tanzania. It is important to note that the focus of this study is on the communities around the national parks in question and not on biodiversity conservation 'per se'.

The case studies selected for the research comprise two national parks in northern Tanzania, namely Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks. Eight villages around their boundaries (four villages for each park) were selected for investigation.

In order to access valid and reliable research data, several data collection techniques were used. Both primary and secondary data were collected. In the first instance, a critical literature review of secondary information was conducted in order for the researcher to understand the global context on concepts and issues relating to community conservation. Secondary data was collected from TANAPA documents relating to CCS activities. The primary data was collected through Participatory Rural Appraisal techniques including focus group discussions with stakeholders in the vicinity of National Parks where 44 groups (park staff, farmers, village officials, natural resources committees, pastoralists and women) each comprising 10-12 people were involved in the interactive interviews. In total, four hundred and eighty-four (484) respondents attended the focus group discussions. Other techniques included the use of Venn diagrams and field observations. Analysis and interpretation of focus group responses were made in the light of the author's 27 years experience within the National Parks system in Tanzania.

The results of the research presented in this thesis reveal that stakeholders generally thought that the CCS outreach programme has been successful in easing the tension between parks and people, but there are still many questions concerning its practicability. The study recommends that TANAPA ought to adopt a new approach to community conservation, to achieve much more active participation by the communities adjacent to the parks. However, since Tanzanian national parks are IUCN Category II protected areas, habitation and use of resources within them is not permitted through existing legislation. Therefore, TANAPA cannot adopt community conservation approaches such as the community-based conservation or community-based natural resources management (CBNRM) within the parks because these approaches implicitly devolve authority for natural resources to local communities.

While the national parks of Tanzania, and Africa as a whole, face greater threats and uncertainties than ever before, one thing is abundantly clear - and that is that the parks will never be viable while surrounded by hungry, poor and resentful communities. Tanzania has an obligation, in implementing this new approach, to help improve local communities' livelihoods and increase their collaboration in the protection of the natural resources on which they depend and which are the raison d'etre of the country's national parks.

This thesis recommends to TANAPA that it should incorporate profound changes in its legislation and CCS policies to accommodate the active participation of the adjacent communities through realistic 'benefit- sharing' rather than the current 'benefit-giving' approach.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: conservation, national parks, Tanzania
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
S Agriculture > SD Forestry
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Science
School of Science > Department of Pharmaceutical, Chemical & Environmental Sciences
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2019 09:18

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