In the drylands of Southern Africa, many communities have a long
tradition of keeping livestock. However, increased socio-economic
pressures mean that land degradation is increasing on communally
owned grazing areas.
PRO-NATURE ENTERPRISES FOR THE
PEOPLE OF SOUTHERN AFRICA
This degradation reduces the ability of soils to regenerate rangelands for
livestock but also for wildlife; moreover, the loss of suitable grazing areas for
both livestock and wildlife has resulted in grazing activities competing with
wildlife for foraging, putting communities and wildlife at odds.
This problem is particularly pronounced in the trans-frontier conservation
areas of Southern Africa, which cut across national jurisdictions due to
wildlife and livestock migration trends. Degraded rangelands lose their
optimal capacity to regenerate pastures for both wildlife and livestock,
accelerating further degradation. This gives rise to competition for resources
between human and wildlife leading to conflicts. Unless addressed,
severely degraded rangelands can easily become “wastelands” that yield
little ecosystem services, often driving dependent communities to poverty.
In a negative feedback loop, this degrading system then jeopardizes
important conservation efforts targeted at these cross-border areas and a
significant part of the formal economy (tourism).
Conservation International and partners intend to strengthen and
disseminate its approach to community-based natural resources
management (CBNRM). Conservation agreements with local farmers and/
or communities will create enabling social, economic and environmental
conditions to promote biodiversity conservation and support development
of sustainable “nature-friendly” enterprises that make local communities
more financially self-sufficient.