Article from ROAPE Volume 33 Number 109
Political Ecology of Wildlife Conservation in Africa
This short review summarises research and key debates in the conservation and management of wildlife, biodiversity and valued environments in Africa. It is broadly grounded in a political ecology approach, and indicates the importance of considering ways in which power and meanings conferred on the landscape play out in the realm of conservation. The review highlights the paradigm shift that has occurred in thinking about African environments and shows how this has shaped approaches to conservation. It considers factors that influenced the origin of conservation initiatives in Africa, including the preservation of game for hunting and the establishment of national parks in the United States. The shift from an early fortress conservation model to later community conservation approaches is traced and a summary of the critique of community conservation with a analysis of the CAMPFIRE programme in Zimbabwe, is presented. More recently the conservation agenda seems to have turned towards transfrontier conservation. The conclusion cautions that despite the weight of critical analyses of community conservation, its abandonment would be somewhat premature and potentially detrimental to desirable conservation and development outcomes.