IS TRANSFRONTIER CONSERVATION OVERCOMING THE PITFALLS OF LARGE-SCALE COLLECTIVE ACTION? A case study of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area in southern Africa

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: Management of migrating resources is typically referring to fish or water, but wildlife such as elephants, rhinos and lions can also classify as a migratory resource. These animals are generally constrained by political borders, but by implementing large wildlife-parks called transfrontier conservation areas the political borders between two or more states are opened. The number of transfrontier conservation areas has expanded immensely between 1988 to 2007, increasing from 59 to 227 parks globally. One of these so-called peace-parks is the Great Limpopo Transfrontier conservation area, spanning over South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. This thesis is based on a case study of the Great Limpopo transfrontier conservation area. The aim is to evaluate what challenges and opportunities a transfrontier conservation area can give rise to, and if this institutional arrangement can overcome large- scale collective action dilemmas. Three factors were highlighted as potentially challenging; perceived loss of sovereignty, that the group of states is heterogenous and that the resource lacks clearly defined boundaries. Eight unique key informant interviews were conducted in South Africa and the results illustrate that challenges linked to large-scale collective action appear to be overcome in the Great Limpopo. However, other areas are challenging such as community neglection which seems to have contributed to the difficulties of rhino-poaching that has struck the area severely. Future studies should focus on different governance levels within the park, but also include interviews representing the other states involved in the Great Limpopo transfrontier conservation area.

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