Theme 5: Drought--Oral Sessions

Description

African rangeland systems are characterized by competing resource use for livestock farming and wildlife conservation. In Namibia’s rangeland savannahs, cattle farming for commercial and subsistence purposes is common, shaping the land use system of the country’s north. Local cattle stocking rates increased over the past decades and triggered ecosystem degradation that became visible in the last drought-stricken years. Cattle was lost, meat prices dropped and livelihoods were threatened. It is assumed that current land use activities are pushing the rangeland ecosystem towards ecological tipping points. Alternative approaches to use the scarce resources of rangelands in a more sustainable way may be centred on wildlife-based land use strategies.

Against this background, we investigate the attitudes of stakeholders towards wildlife in order to carve out current barriers for upscaling wildlife-based land use strategies. We conducted stakeholder mapping based on the results of a larger qualitative survey, which included a workshop, individual interviews and a participatory observation. Our results indicate that the reasons for stakeholders being hesitant towards wildlife-based strategies can be clustered around (i) cultural and traditional practices, (ii) unfavourable market conditions and (iii) negative connotations of certain wildlife utilization practices. The study results contribute to the identification of entry points for policies that seek to support wildlife-based strategies.

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Stakeholder Attitudes towards Wildlife-Based Land Use in Namibia’s Kunene Region

African rangeland systems are characterized by competing resource use for livestock farming and wildlife conservation. In Namibia’s rangeland savannahs, cattle farming for commercial and subsistence purposes is common, shaping the land use system of the country’s north. Local cattle stocking rates increased over the past decades and triggered ecosystem degradation that became visible in the last drought-stricken years. Cattle was lost, meat prices dropped and livelihoods were threatened. It is assumed that current land use activities are pushing the rangeland ecosystem towards ecological tipping points. Alternative approaches to use the scarce resources of rangelands in a more sustainable way may be centred on wildlife-based land use strategies.

Against this background, we investigate the attitudes of stakeholders towards wildlife in order to carve out current barriers for upscaling wildlife-based land use strategies. We conducted stakeholder mapping based on the results of a larger qualitative survey, which included a workshop, individual interviews and a participatory observation. Our results indicate that the reasons for stakeholders being hesitant towards wildlife-based strategies can be clustered around (i) cultural and traditional practices, (ii) unfavourable market conditions and (iii) negative connotations of certain wildlife utilization practices. The study results contribute to the identification of entry points for policies that seek to support wildlife-based strategies.