Investigating the applicability of nexus thinking to private protected areas; the case of Mokolodi Nature Reverse, Southeast Botswana
PublisherUniversity of Botswana, www.ub.bw
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World-wide, Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) has gained international attention for reconciling common pool resource management with needs and aspirations of the local people. Regionally, Zimbabwe’s CBNRM strategy was first introduced in the early 1980s under Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE), arguably representing the earliest such strategy in the SADC region. In Botswana,CBNRM was introduced in the late 1980s through the support of USAID. This marked a paradigm shift towards the management and utilization of common shared resources as well as conservation of biological diversity. The strategy generated socio-economic and ecological benefits to once marginalized communities, improving livelihoods and biodiversity conservation. Despite CBNRM achievements, its applicability is limited to common pool resources. That is the strategy of CBNRM does not apply to privately owned resources. It therefore becomes necessary to search for models that recognized and forged mutually beneficial linkages for the sustainable co-existence of the two property regimes, i.e. common property and private property resource management regimes. This is particularly important considering that the successful future prospects of protected conservation area ecotourism, whether in private or public/communal areas, revolve around building mutually shared beneficial linkages. This prompted this study, to unravel such linkages and establish the extent of beneficial matrix between the two property regimes - the private and the communal. This study explored the applicability of the nexus thinking (NT) framework in understanding and forging the linkages among conservation, ecotourism development and the livelihoods of local communities around a privately owned Mokolodi Nature Reserve on the outskirts of the City of Gaborone in the Southeast of Botswana. It is thus conceptualized that conservation, livelihoods and ecotourism form a complex system linked by multiple interacting components. Data was collected from the community closest to MNR and MNR’s management. Questionnaires and key informant interviews were used as primary sources of data. Likewise, secondary data from appropriate sources was solicited. The triangulation methodology was adopted as the research framework for generating and analyzing data so that there was cross-validation of evidence from both qualitative and quantitative data sources. The study has found out that mutually beneficial linkages existed between MNR and the local community. Interaction and coordination constitute the NT model. Therefore, the NT model as an interactive and innovative framework can deliberately or by design be used or promoted in the management of privately protected resources for sustainable socio-economic and ecological benefits. Both the private and the public sector have the obligation to engage with each other through partnership agreements, sharing ideas, so as to enhance resource security and empower the local communities. The NT framework is therefore recommended for privately owned conservancies like MNR surrounded by the commons and commoners as a counterpart to the CBNRM framework for Government controlled conservancies.