Linking neoprotectionism and environmental governance: On the rapidly increasing tensions between actors in the environment-development Nexus

Bram Büscher*, Wolfram Dressler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There are rapidly increasing tensions between actors engaged in the governance of environment and natural resources in Africa. This becomes clear when reviewing current trends in the conservation-development debate and combining these insights with trends in environmental governance, most especially the commodification of 'nature' under pressures of neoliberalism. Our argument starts by showing how the conservation-development debate has become polarised due to increasing criticism of community-based approaches to nature conservation and how these unfold in terms of value and scale. We argue that the strong sense of urgency involved in this neoprotectionist turn amongst conservation practitioners has been reciprocated by an equally strong reply from community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) advocates, thereby further straining the choices that must be made with respect to conservation practice. Through a discussion of the current neoliberal turn in environmental governance, we suggest that the potential of actors to promote divergent and ambiguous values in policy and practice across scale has increased over the past decade and will continue to do so. This, in turn, may lead to environmental governance that favours the 'sustained' polarisation of actors' priorities in research and policy concerning conservation-development. We provide evidence for our case with empirical data from research done on the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) in Southern Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-611
Number of pages26
JournalConservation and Society
Volume5
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Commodification of nature
  • Conservation
  • Development
  • Governance
  • Neoliberalism
  • Transfrontier conservation

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