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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 282-293

Territorialising Conservation: Community-based Approaches in Kenya and Namibia


1 Geography Department, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
2 Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
3 Bonn International Center for Conversion, Bonn, Germany
4 ILR Economics of Sustainable Land Use and Bioeconomy, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
5 United States International University, Nairobi, Kenya

Correspondence Address:
Linus Kalvelage
Geography Department, University of Cologne, Cologne
Germany
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Source of Support: Research was funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) through the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) “Future Rural Africa”, funding code TRR 228/1., Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests in the conduct of this research.


DOI: 10.4103/cs.cs_18_21

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Community-based Conservation seeks to strike a balance between nature conservation and economic growth by establishing spatial and institutional settings that maintain and even regain biodiversity while simultaneously allowing for sustainable land use. The implementation of community-based conservation blueprints on communal, often agronomically marginal lands, is in many southern and eastern African countries encouraged by the national government. Despite vast academic literature on community-based conservation, it remains unclear how this re-shaping of resource governance has driven territorialisation in rural areas. To address this gap, this article compares the implementation of community-based conservation in Northern Kenya and Northern Namibia. By doing so, we intend to shed light on the question 'why does community-based conservation result in different forms of territorialisation negotiated between state agencies, non-governmental organisations and rural communities? We demonstrate how historical preconditions, contemporary project design, and the commodification of natural resources shape territorialisation in both cases in different ways. In Kenya, concerns for securitisation have been driving community-based conservation, while in Namibia it primarily aimed to benefit the previously disadvantaged rural residents. Furthermore, in both regions community-based conservation programmes serve as vehicles to articulate political claims, either to reify traditional authorities, to create ethnically homogenous territories or to define boundaries of resource use.


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