Market triumphalism and the CBNRM 'crises' at the South African section of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park

Wolfram Dressler*, Bram Büscher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Transfrontier conservation has taken Southern Africa by storm, where the modus operandi remains simple and intuitive: by dissolving boundaries, local benefits grow as conservation and development spread regionally. However, in the case of South Africa's section of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, political and economic change redirects benefits to support 'modern' economies at the expense of rural livelihoods through community-based natural resources management (CBNRM). Neo-liberal agendas promoted by government and the transfrontier park derail efforts at decentralizing CBNRM initiatives beyond markets and state control. This paper argues that 'hybrid neoliberal' CBNRM has arisen in private and public sector delivery of devolved conservation and poverty relief projects as 'tertiary production' for regional development. As a result, 'CBNRM' projects related to and independent of transfrontier conservation support private sector interests rather than the resource base of rural livelihoods. Concluding sections assert that CBNRM can counter this neoliberal trend by supporting the land-based economy of local users living near the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-465
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Community-based natural resources management
  • Livelihoods
  • Neoliberalism
  • South Africa
  • Transfrontier conservation


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