IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Contesting Views on a Protected Area Conservation and Development in Ethiopia


  • Asebe Regassa Debelo

    () (Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), Bayreuth, 95445, Germany)


This article discusses the contention between the state and local Guji people on issues of development and conservation of a Protected Area—Nech Sar National Park in southern Ethiopia. The park, which covers over 514 square kilometers, is a contested space between different actors, not only for its economic values, but it is also an arena of contestation over development and conservation perspectives. Since its inception as a national park in 1974, it has been administered with strict protectionist conservation approach, and later in 1990s, the ‘modernist’ development program was introduced in the form of ecotourism. On the contrary, the Guji people had strong determination for conservation embedded deep in their worldviews and beliefs. By tracing the genesis of the philosophies behind protected areas in Africa, particularly how it was adopted by the Ethiopian state and its implications, I argue that contrasts in environmental cosmologies between the western and indigenous perspectives have ultimately resulted in unsustainable resource management and also disrupted local livelihood conditions. Despite its existence as an independent country, Ethiopia also experienced similar conservation models that were imported to colonial Africa. In this article, I argue that conservation, particularly in the form of protected areas, is a form of hegemonic control over territories, people and their spaces (historical, economic, cultural and political spaces).

Suggested Citation

  • Asebe Regassa Debelo, 2012. "Contesting Views on a Protected Area Conservation and Development in Ethiopia," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 1(1), pages 1-20, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jscscx:v:1:y:2012:i:1:p:24-43:d:21120

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tobias Hagmann & Alemmaya Mulugeta, 2008. "Pastoral conflicts and state-building in the Ethiopian lowlands," Africa Spectrum, Institute of African Affairs, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 43(1), pages 19-38.
    2. L. Randall Wray & Stephanie Bell, 2004. "Introduction," Chapters,in: Credit and State Theories of Money, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Philippe Robert-Demontrond & R. Ringoot, 2004. "Introduction," Post-Print halshs-00081823, HAL.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    conservation; development; protected area; local livelihood; contested space;

    JEL classification:

    • A - General Economics and Teaching
    • B - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology
    • N - Economic History
    • P - Economic Systems
    • Y80 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Related Disciplines - - - Related Disciplines
    • Z00 - Other Special Topics - - General - - - General


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jscscx:v:1:y:2012:i:1:p:24-43:d:21120. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.