Briefing from ROAPE Volume 32 Number 104/5
Nigeria: Conservation, ‘Traditional’ Knowledge & the Commons

Nigeria: Conservation, ‘Traditional’ Knowledge and the Commons
Vol.32 No.104/5 (Jun/Sep 2005), pp436-443
As analysed in former issues of ROAPE, rural Africa's resource struggles pivot on the capitalist economy's growing transformation of common property tenure into private property regimes that support the development of class relations and socio-economic inequality. Privatisation by elites in control of emerging land markets means the direct producer looses his customary entitlements and, landless, is forced to seek employment for a wage within capitalist relations of production: privatisation shrinks the commons and undermines both 'traditional' environmental knowledge and community forest management. However, our data show that compared to settlements close to roads and markets, villages furthest from the roads retain greater commitment to common tenure, have stronger traditional knowledge and greater resistance to privatisation of the forests. We ask whether in the latter