Rationale for the research
Protected areas (PAs) have become a strategic component of many environmental regimes and are considered a cornerstone in achieving sustainability. Scientific findings suggest that protected areas can play a critical role in building capacity for adaptation to both climatic and livelihood changes.
However, so far we have had mixed results in the performance of PAs, because of complex challenges in PA governance design and limited synergy between PAs and with wider socio-economic and institutional frameworks.
The Protected Areas and Poverty Reduction (PAPR) project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the International Development Research Center (IDRC), through the International Community-University Research Alliance Program, set out to understand PAsâ€™ governance dynamics and to enable knowledge to inform conservation actions.
Case Study and Questions
Gazetted in 2005, the Saadani National Park (SNP) is comprised of biologically rich terrestrial, coastal, riverine, wetland and marine ecosystems. SNP, originating from the earlier Saadani Game Reserve (SGR), is Tanzaniaâ€™s newest state-managed PA, part of a network covering no less than 20% of the national territory. Culturally rich, SNP is also connected to 17 villages. Key inquiry areas:
- How is environmental sustainability affected by institutional processes in the Saadani landscape?
- How can state-managed national parks, achieve conservation goals under current conditions of unpredictable change?
- Â In which ways do spatial arrangements and prerogatives affect or provide a barrier to sustainable conservation and collaboration?
Research Approach and Methods
Â Primary spatial and qualitative, and document data were collected during a 12 month period between 2012 and 2013 in 13 of the 17 villages surrounding the Saadani National Park. The findings here presented come from individual and group interactions with 217 participants.
1. Saadaniâ€™s Prevalent Institutional Dynamics
- Grassroots institutions and socio-cultural connections with park lands the key to cross-level cooperation in environmental conservation.
- Communityâ€“based conservation of potential forÂ ecological sustainability through ecological connectivity/ wildlife corridors
- Early landscape-level conservation a community-initiated action.
- Prevalent institutional isolation and cross-level conflicts among park & community actors
Â Â 2. Emergence and evolution of conservation in the Saadani Landscape
Events Leading to the Creation of Saadani Game Reserve (SGR) and Saadani National Park (SNP)
Â 3. Spatiality & Dispossession in the Saadani Landscape
Detailed spatially-enabled document analysis revealing park actorsâ€™ institutional approach to dispossessing villagers from inhabited ancestral territories
Â 4. A cartography of Dispossession
The spatial and archive research was able to identify and triangulate the original SGR boundaries, and show that TANAPA’s map alters those boundaries
Knowledge Mobilization: A Case of Research Enabling Action
Â About the author:
Aleja Orozco is a PhD student in Geography at the University of Victoria (Canada). Her comparative research titledÂ â€œThe Role of Knowledge, Institutions and Multi-level Governance in Adaptive Capacityâ€ focuses on the spatial and institutional dynamics of conservation taking place within and around Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (Canada) and Saadani National Park (Tanzania).
For more information on Aleja’s research and activism visit:
The research project has been funded by,
TheÂ International Development Research CentreÂ (IDRC)Â and theÂ Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of CanadaÂ (SSHRC)Â through the Protected Areas and Poverty Reduction Canada-Africa Research and Learning Alliance Project. And by
The International Development Research CentreÂ (IDRC)Â through a Doctoral Research Fellowship Award