Parks-people conflicts: the case of Gonarezhou National Park and the Chitsa community in south-east Zimbabwe

Mombeshora Solomon, Le Bel Sébastien. 2010. Parks-people conflicts: the case of Gonarezhou National Park and the Chitsa community in south-east Zimbabwe. In : Natural resource management and local development. Torquebiau Emmanuel (ed.), Taylor Russell (ed.). Heidelberg : Springer [Allemagne], pp. 65-85. (Topics in biodiversity and conservation, 12) ISBN 978-94-007-0173-1

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Additional Information : Reprinted from Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 18:10 (2009)

Abstract : National parks have been the centre piece of international conservation strategies in developing countries. The expansion in the network of national parks has enabled the conservation of biodiversity and habitats but the acquisition of vast areas into the park system has often been achieved through the displacement of resident local communities. Displaced people are exposed to a variety of impoverishment risks and this stokes up animosity towards parks. The research reported here seeks to understand the key issues involved in the occupation of a section of Gonarezhou National Park by Headman Chitsa's people. The paper examines how the interplay between the history of displacement and dispossession, demographic pressures, limited economic opportunities, the 'fast track' land reform programme and dynastic politics are fomenting the land conflict between Gonarezhou and Chitsa community. Secondary actors with diverse interests have also come into the fold. Official efforts to resolve the conflict using a top-down approach have yielded little success. This culminated in a shift towards the use of traditional mechanisms of resolving a chieftaincy dispute as a step towards addressing the broader parks-people land conflict. Lessons from the case study are, inter alia, that interventions aimed at resolving parks-people conflicts should be alive to local culture, livelihood needs and power dynamics and, to the extent possible, eschew forcible relocations. Finally, we draw attention to the need to address the wider contradiction between policies promoting wildlife conservation and those promoting agriculture. The article is written to share lessons with readers interested in parks-people conflicts. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Parc national, Population rurale, Communauté rurale, Trouble social, Développement agricole, gestion des ressources naturelles, Niveau de vie, Émigration, Sociologie

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Zimbabwe

Classification Agris : P01 - Nature conservation and land resources
E50 - Rural sociology
E51 - Rural population

Axe stratégique Cirad : Axe 6 (2005-2013) - Agriculture, environnement, nature et sociétés

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Mombeshora Solomon, University of Zimbabwe (ZWE)
  • Le Bel Sébastien, CIRAD-ES-UPR AGIRs (ZWE)

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