Community Conservation

Having explored the impacts of Fortress Conservation during the course of my PhD I was quite anxious to return to do more fieldwork in Tanzania, which I enjoyed, but I did not want to spend that time in a conservation conflict zone. In 1999, I returned on a British Academy Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship and worked in the south of the country, in a village called Mtowisa in Rukwa, where I lived until late 2000. This place has experienced a long standing southwards migration of livestock and livestock keeping peoples, principally the Sukuma, for many years. I went in order to understand what this influx of people and cattle were doing to the systems of natural resource management that I suspected people operated.

I quickly found however that there were no such systems – at least not the ones I expected to find. There were no pastoral commons, no dry season calf pastures and even irrigation water for the relatively recent rice paddies was not managed. This region, set in fertile lands in a rift valley was a place of relative plenty and low population. There were some controls in place but they were bound up in the functioning of village government. I therefore began to explore the work and functioning of local government and what the implications of its performance for the increasingly popular and prevalent policies of community based natural resource management.

The first paper I produced for the Cahiers d’Afrique presents my initial findings:
Brockington, D. 2001. ‘Communal Property and Degradation Narratives. Debating the Sukuma immigration into Rukwa Region, Tanzania.’ Cahiers d’Afrique.20: 1-22.

I then developed a richer argument about the nature of local democracy:
Brockington, D. 2008. ‘Corruption, Taxation, Democracy and Natural Resource Management in Tanzania.’ Journal of Development Studies 44 (1): 103-126. PDF

I have also published a number of papers which have explored the implications of poor local government performance for CBNRM. These papers engage with the work of Liz Wily who is an effective and vocal advocate of reform in the Forestry Sector:
Brockington, D. 2007. ‘Devolution, Community Conservation and Forests. On local government performance and Village Forest Reserves in Tanzania.’ Society and Natural Resources 20: 835-48. PDF
Brockington, D. 2006. ‘The politics and ethnography of environmentalisms in Tanzania.’ African Affairs 105 (418): 97-116. PDF

More general papers include this piece, with Bill Adams, Bhaskar Vira and Jany Dyson which appeared in Science about common pool resources:
Adams, W.A., Brockington, D. Dyson, J. and Vira, B. 2003 ‘Managing tragedies. Understanding Conflict over Common Pool Resources.’ Science 302: 1915-6. PDF

I was also privileged to be invited to join this overview publication, lead my Wolfram Dressler and Bram Buscher:
Dressler, W., Büscher, B., Schoon, M., Brockington, D., Hayes, T., Kull, C., Mccarthy, J., and Streshta, K. 2010. From Hope to Crisis and Back Again? A Critical History of the Global CBNRM Narrative. Environmental Conservation 37 (1): 5-15. PDF

This overview publication lead by Sharad Lele resulted from a joint panel at the Diversitas conference in Cape Town in 2009:
Lele, S., Wilshusen, P., Brockington, D., Seidler, R. and Bawa, K. 2010. ‘Beyond exclusion: alternative approaches to biodiversity conservation in the developing tropics.’ Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 2: 1-7. PDF

I also made a small contribution to Johan Oldekop’s interesting meta-analysis of common resource management regimes:
Oldekop, J.A., Bebbington, A.J., Brockington, D., and Preziosi, R.F. 2010. ‘Understanding the Lessons and Limitations of Conservation and Development.’ Accepted by Conservation Biology 24 (2): 461-9. PDF