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Community Wildlife Management in Southern Africa. A regional review

Southern Africa is extremely varied in its range of ecosystems and its distribution of human populations. As the area moves further into a post-colonial, post-apartheid era, interest in sustainable use of natural resources has been heightened. In fact, in many cases wildlife management, including sport hunting and/or tourism, can often be the highest valued form of land use for non-arable land.
The report gives a brief review of the extent and progress of community wildlife management (CWM) in the seven countries of southern Africa - Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It includes a summary of supporting legislation for CWM projects and the extent of project establishment. Key emerging issues are discussed. These range from, amongst many, land tenure and conservation/biodiversity impacts, to participation and vertical/horizontal integration. In addition, strengths and weaknesses in existing knowledge are indicated.
The report concludes that the diversity of perspectives and approaches in the area has allowed for a rich variety of CWM initiatives to develop. However, a number of common features are shared - an interest in adaptive management; a focus on the ecosystem level rather than at the species level; a lack of distinction between consumptive and non-consumptive use; and the importance of tenure in natural resource management. For CWM to continue to develop in the area, a need for more supportive policies is needed - allowing further devolution of authority to the community level, access to resources and a removal of economic distortions that favour other forms of land use, such as cattle. The process of producing such policy needs to be speeded up, if a loss of incentive and participation in CWM is to be prevented.

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