PhD theses

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    Wageningen PhD theses

    This database contains bibliographic descriptions of all Wageningen University PhD theses from 1920 onwards. It is updated on a daily basis by WUR Library.

    Author abstracts and/or summaries are added to all descriptions. A link to the full text dissertation is added to the bibliographic description. In a few cases, no electronic version is available, mostly because of copyright issues.

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Record number 1992869
Title Elephants of democracy : an unfolding process of resettlement in the Limpopo National Park
show extra info.
Jessica Milgroom
Author(s) Milgroom, J.
Publisher [S.l. : s.n.]
Publication year 2012
Description 322 p fig., tab
Notes Proefschrift Wageningenshow all notes
Met lit. opg. - Met samenvatting in het Engels, Nederlands en Portugees
ISBN 9789461732699
Tutors Leeuwis, Prof. dr. ir. C. ; Giller, Prof. dr. K.E. ; Jiggins, Prof. dr. J.L.S.
Graduation date 2012-05-30
Dissertation no. 5248
Author abstract show abstract

Unlike in the simulation game SimSafari, people cannot just be clicked in and out of a national park with a computer mouse. This thesis seeks to understand resettlement as an unfolding process. Displacement and resettlement caused by development projects such as dams or conservation areas, tend to be detrimental to the well-being of resettled people, despite policies adopted to avoid adverse consequences. Based on in-depth fieldwork from 2006 to 2010, this study followed the residents of the village of Nanguene, the first village resettled from the Limpopo National Park, in southern Mozambique from pre-resettlement negotiations to post-resettlement transition in their new location. Two overarching questions in resettlement scholarship and practice are addressed: i) How is resettlement policy enacted in practice? and ii) What can an integrated understanding of the lives and livelihoods of resettling people contribute to the design of compensation?

The wider political economy and residents’ participation in planning influenced the enactment of resettlement policy. The guiding policy was the World Bank Operational Policy on Involuntary Resettlement (WB OP 4.12); even though the option to resettle was presented as voluntary, in practice it was ‘induced’ volition. The changing meanings that actors gave to the notion of participation reflected changing power relationships, opening and closing the procedural space for the residents to influence decision-making about their own futures. Although participation in the planning process led to some level of empowerment and increased their opportunities to voice their needs and desires, the participatory procedures masked underlying coercion and manipulation. I conclude that the enactment process itself is as important, or more important, than the content of the policy in shaping the decisions made.

The southern end of Limpopo National Park, in the district of Massingir, is characterized by highly variable and marginal rainfall. Livelihoods are comprised of diverse activities, of which maize production is central. People strive to produce as much maize as possible from the rain that does fall; a good harvest can last for up to three years, serving as a buffer against food scarcity in subsequent years of crop failure. Therefore, having access to sufficient land on which to plant large areas when rainfall patterns are favourable for harvest is crucial for food security. Through a detailed study of the agricultural system in eight villages in the region, taking into consideration local practices, 15 years of daily rainfall and variable household assets we estimated that 1.37 ha per person is needed to be food self-sufficient. In compensation for resettlement, each nuclear family was provided with only 1 ha. Natural resource inventories and a spatial analysis of available natural resources indicated there were sufficient resources of adequate quality to support the needs of the existing residents and the resettled residents in the post-resettlement location, with respect to cropping and grazing. However, despite apparently inclusive rules and norms of access, residents faced major challenges accessing the resources they needed. This highlights the need to understand the relationships among quantity and quality of and access to natural resources. Strengthening people’s existing adaptive capacity may be key to reducing vulnerability to negative consequences of resettlement. 

The influence that action-oriented research can have in complex settings, where different actors assert completing claims on the same resources, is also examined in this thesis. Our findings suggest that in a sensitive and complex research setting such as this one, the researcher may be able to contribute to more equitable and transparent negotiations by being present, asking questions and by timely and open sharing of preliminary results.

The resettlement initiative documented in this thesis appeared to have all the elements needed to make it a success. Despite this, differing expectations about the autonomy and resource control of the resettled village in its new location led half of the resettled households to return to the park only four months after resettlement. I suggest that policy cannot safeguard people from undue harm unless the process of enactment becomes a central focus of attention; compensation cannot bring development unless the resettling residents can define development themselves; and people cannot be resettled—they resettle themselves.

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Keyword(s) national parks / nature conservation / development projects / politics / nature conservation policy / wildlife conservation / influences / indigenous people / resettlement / south africa / zimbabwe / mozambique
Categories Nature Conservation Policy
Publication type PhD thesis
Language English
About The proposed paper will focus on the process of displacement taking place in the context of the creation of the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique. This park is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which also includes the Kruger National Park (South Africa) and Gonarezhou National Park (Zimbabwe). The creation of the Limpopo National Park – which involved the translocation of more than 3000 animals from Kruger park to Limpopo park, including more than a hundred elephants – is strongly associated by some local residents with political developments following the cease-fire in 1992 and the increased regional cooperation since South Africa’s transition to democracy in 1994. The paper will describe how the establishment of the larger transfrontier park resulted in pressure on the Mozambican government to favour the model of a national park over other conservation options that might have better accommodated the interests of local communities. About 26 000 people are currently living in the Limpopo National Park; about 6000 of whom are in the process of being resettled to an area southeast of the park. The Mozambican government and donors funding the creation of the park have maintained that no forced relocation will take place. However, the pressure created by restrictions on livelihood strategies resulting from park regulations, and the increased presence of wildlife has forced some communities to ‘accept’ the resettlement option. The paper will describe the negotiation process about alternative locations and compensation packages for the communities to be resettled, involving park officials, local and international NGOs, and communities. An analysis will be presented of the power struggles between those parties, but also of the internal contradictions and conflicts that each of the parties experience. Furthermore, an often neglected aspect will be explored, namely that of the possible consequences of resettlement for the hosting communities outside of the park
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