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The Impact of Constituency Building on Development and Conservation Sentiment in the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere
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Protected conservation areas are increasingly threatened as the need for land and resources grows. South Africa has a storied past of wildlife conservation and its protected areas continue to be popular nature tourism destinations. However, legacies of colonization and apartheid polices remain. There is an imbalance in power, resource ownership, and protected area access between white and black South Africans, particularly within private natures reserves (PNRs). The history of conflict in these areas is exacerbated by the militarized response to rhino poaching over the last decade. To help ameliorate this conflict, communities surrounding nature reserves should receive benefits from conservation to partially address environmental injustices. Still, PNR capacity to sufficiently and appropriately address benefit needs is a challenge. Stakeholders need to better understand how to effectively share benefits with appropriate consideration of both community and conservation groups. This dissertation addresses this need by exploring conflict and benefit sharing between PNRs and nearby communities in the Kruger to Canyons (K2C) Biosphere, South Africa. We present a review of: 1) relevant literature and the dissertation work; 2) PNR stakeholders’ motivations and deterrents to engage in benefit sharing; 3) how benefit sharing influences community members’ perceptions of development outcomes, conservation sentiment, and conflict with reserves; and 4) recommendations on the most effective benefit sharing strategy design and administration. To achieve this, two complementary surveys were administered to stakeholders from five PNRs and three communities in the K2C. Simple descriptive analyses were used to determine community and PNR stakeholder perceptions, and associations between stakeholder groups were explored to determine similarities and differences. After income through employment, a benefit sharing strategy that provides diffuse benefits and has a limited focus was found to be most effective to promote development satisfaction and positive perceptions of the reserve within communities. To support this strategy, PNRs should work to centralize the administration of benefit sharing within and across reserves. Centralization will allow for improved access to resources, and the coordination of benefit programs to maximize efficiency and impact. New and strengthened collaboration networks developed in the response to rhino poaching can be leveraged to improve benefit sharing administration.
Clifton, Kyle Leann (2018). The Impact of Constituency Building on Development and Conservation Sentiment in the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from