Pastoralism and Conservation - Who Benefits? | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
January 2011

Conservation business is booming in East Africa, but is threatened by major long term wildlife declines. Pastoralist rangelands are among the highest-earning and fastest-growing tourism destinations, but their populations have mean incomes and development indices consistently below national averages. Governments and conservation organisations see green development, often through community-based conservation (CBC), as building sustainable livelihoods and biodiversity conservation in EA rangelands. The paper looks at the contribution conservation makes to Maasai pastoralist livelihoods, based on studies in two Tanzanian and three Kenyan sites differing in proximity to protected areas, urban settlements, markets and infrastructure, and in
wildlife-related revenues, as well as in national economic and political context. Conservation brings little to household income in most sites compared to returns from livestock, cultivation, and off-farm work. Special circumstances mean conservation business brings local benefits in the Mara, but are rarely achieved elsewhere. Pace and scale of conservation-driven loss of access to resources has serious implications for livelihoods security, while negative tradeoffs from CBC and “conservation with development” initiatives may drive both impoverishment and wildlife declines.

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