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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 8-15

Post-apartheid transformations and population change around Dwesa-Cwebe nature reserve, South Africa

Department of Anthropology, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA, USA

Correspondence Address:
Derick A Fay
Department of Anthropology, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.79179

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This paper examines population changes around the Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve in South Africa's Eastern Cape province, in light of Wittemyer et al. (2008a)'s argument that migration is leading to disproportionate population growth around protected areas. Migration to, and within, rural areas of South Africa reflects both migrants' diverse motives and the limits on movement created by socially-embedded land tenure systems, not simply an aggregation of populations around areas with potential livelihood attractions. At the 10 km resolution used by Wittemyer et al., contradictory trends are evident, related to long-standing livelihood differences and changes in rural-urban migration that accompanied the end of apartheid, and expansion of other rural population centres. At a finer resolution (2-4 km), the paper describes some small scale population movement toward the Nature Reserve, primarily attributable to the reversal of apartheid-era evictions, driven more by uncomfortable situations in the resettlement area than any attractions of the Nature Reserve. In conclusion, the paper raises broader questions about the causal claims in Wittemyer et al.'s analysis, given its lack of attention to local and regional political economic factors and the demography of migrant streams.

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