Community visioning in a transfrontier conservation area in Southern Africa paves the way towards landscapes combining agricultural production and biodiversity conservation
This study employed participatory approaches to establish ways of engaging local communities within a transfrontier conservation area, towards achieving the goals of integrated agricultural production and biodiversity conservation at a landscape level, known as ecoagriculture. We facilitated farmers' meetings to create charts of local environmental and livelihood concerns and of their vision of the future. Water scarcity, bad road conditions, unemployment and low harvests emerged among the most prevalent concerns. Through a visioning process, participants arrived at a desired future that was largely inclined towards improved livelihoods, with comparatively little attention on biodiversity enhancement. We conclude that stakeholder-driven ecoagriculture could be a sustainable strategy to simultaneously achieve the community's vision and the goals of transfrontier conservation areas, provided biodiversity management strategies are linked to infrastructure improvement and income generating activities. We recommend a community visioning process as an effective approach to encourage collective action and to support local ownership of development programmes.
Volume (Year): 55 (2011)
Issue (Month): 9 (November)
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