Identifying and categorizing stakeholders for protected area expansion around a national park in Namibia
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Protected areas and adjacent landscapes are increasingly being viewed as integrated. A more general awareness is emerging of the relevance of collectively managed landscapes for conservation and human well-being. In Namibia, areas dedicated to conservation are increasing because of the proliferation of conservancies and game reserves. Management toward integrated conservation in these landscapes involves land use practices variably dedicated to wildlife management and the inclusion of land owners and resource users in the decision-making process. We use stakeholder analysis to identify participants integral to an expanded protected area network around the Etosha National Park in Namibia. We identified and categorized important stakeholder groups, and quantitatively and qualitatively assessed their relative importance to the protected area decision-making process. Twelve stakeholder groups were identified, and categorized according to proximity to the national park, land tenure, and land use type. Primary stakeholders, those who both affect and are affected by decision making, comprised livestock farmers, communal conservancy members, resettlement farmers, and tourism/hunting enterprises. For each group the cumulative values of position (level of support for, or opposition to the concept), interest (perceived disadvantages and advantages thereof), and power (resources stakeholders can mobilize to express their position) were calculated. These attributes provide an indication of stakeholder salience, i.e., how likely stakeholders are to affect or be affected by an integrated conservation landscape. We find that livestock farmers, although interested in the concept, mostly oppose protected area expansion. The conflict in opinion is linked to the benefits derived from being part of the conservation landscape and the losses endured due to the porous park fence, including human-wildlife conflict and regulations involving a veterinary cordon fence. A consideration of stakeholder salience, taking into account the different perceptions surrounding the benefits of living adjacent to a protected area, can potentially lead to the better implementation of integrated conservation areas.
- RESEARCH: Esler K