Linking Social and Ecological Sustainability: An Analysis of Livelihoods and the Changing Natural Resources in the Middle Zambezi Biosphere Reserve

Issues: Volume 6, Issue 1
Authors: Alexio Mbereko, Olga Laiza Kupika, Edson Gandiwa

In this paper, we aim to explore community livelihoods and conservation issues surrounding natural resources that are utilised by resettled farmers within the Middle Zambezi Biosphere Reserve, Zimbabwe. Data collection was done in two phases. During the first phase undertaken in 2011, we administered household interviews, held focus group discussions (FGDs) and conducted in-depth interviews. The second phase, conducted in 2015, used FGDs and key informant interviews to gather data on changes in livelihoods and natural resources. Findings indicated limited options of social, human and financial capital. However, diverse livelihoods strategies are pursued in order to minimize the risk of biodiversity degradation. Structural factors that can contribute to cause biodiversity degradation include the failure of the CAMPFIRE Programme; natural resources governance flaws; contests over space and power, and weak policing by institutions devoted to the protection of natural resources. In conclusion, the authors observe how the institutions involved in the management of the protected natural area fail to promote the participation of the local community in the decision-making processes, thus limiting the potential benefits of the designation of the Middle Zambezi Biosphere Reserve.

Keywords: BIOSPHERE RESERVE; SOCIAL CAPITAL; HUMAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT; LIVELIHOODS; PARTICIPATION; SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
JEL classification: N57; O13; L30; Q01
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5947/jeod.2017.004
About authors: Alexio Mbereko    Edson Gandiwa    Olga Laiza Kupika    Download .PDF