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Emerging or illusory? Community wildlife management in Tanzania

Fred Nelson

Book/Report, 32 pages

In East Africa, community wildlife management (CWM) has become a highly contested terrain, both physically and conceptually. In Tanzania, the linear, centrally-led, devolutionary reform processes that were conceptualized in the mid-1990s have not materialized. Rather, multi-faceted political and institutional conflicts over the control of valuable land and wildlife resources characterize CWM in Tanzania today. The outcomes reflect broader internal political struggles over land rights, resource governance, and participation in policy formulation, as well as challenges facing efforts to devolve natural resource management to local communities. This paper examines how CWM needs to be approached as part of a broader social process of building local rights and access to resources through institutional reforms, rather than as a project-based or technical assistance strategy with short time horizons. It also provides suggestions for how practitioners in Tanzania and elsewhere might foster more effective and adaptive CWM approaches in light of these outcomes and experiences.

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