Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Human Sprawl in Buffer Zones of Protected Areas

In the international journal 'Population and Environment', Hoorc researcher Cornelis VanderPost writes about the problems of increased human sprawl in buffer zones of globally important -but often ecologically fragmented- African wilderness areas. The paper identifies two major conflicting (yet potentially reconcilable) pathways of rural sprawl.
Subsistence sprawl entails mostly the emergence of small rural settlements resulting from growing rural populations accessing land for subsistence crop cultivation and livestock grazing. Wildlife-tourism is responsible for sprawl through the development of access and game-viewing roads and tracks and tourist camps and lodges,
usually with associated living quarters for employees. Containment of rural sprawl in the vicinity of important ecological reserves such as Moremi requires addressing both pathways and their underlying conflicts. Reconciliation of subsistence sprawl with wildlife-conservation based tourism may happen through adequate compensation for losses of subsistence resources sustained by communities and by the creation of sufficient alternatives for local residents to reduce their need to exploit subsistence resources (including wildlife) in their immediate environment.

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