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Community Conservation

Nature and Wildlife conservation through creating community value - CTECH Community Based Conservation

Marring nature conservation with community wellbeing. The ability to ensure sustainable development through communities understanding the that conservation and their development are interlinked

Why Community Conservation?

Sustainable development is the process of two distinct focus areas; sustainability of the environment to support and enable the development people.

What must be sustained?

  • Nature - the earth, biodiversity and ecosystems
  • Life support - life of ecosystems, services, resources and the environment
  • Communities - cultures, groups, places
What must be developed?
  • People - child development and survival, life expectancy, education, equality and equal opportunity
  • Economy - wealth, productive sectors and consuption
  • Society - institutions, social capital, states and regions
This needs to exist now and in the future!

Conservation in Southern Africa

Before the 1980s, natural resources management regimes in southern Africa excluded communities from participating in the protection and management of biodiversity.

As a result, unsustainable land use practices contributed to biodiversity loss and a decline in the quality of environmental goods and services. In addition, the livelihoods of the communities that depend directly on natural resources for subsistence agriculture, fishing, forestry products and wildlife were also threatened.


The Regional Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Capacity Building and Training Project, generally referred to as the Regional CBNRM Project, was initiated by WWF Norway and the WWF Southern Africa Regional Programme Office (WWF SARPO) to address CBNRM capacity needs at government departmental, NGO and community levels within seven project countries.

The overall goal of regional CBNRM Project is:

"Improved rural livelihoods at the household level attained through sustainable management of natural resources by communities in Southern Africa."

In order to conserve biodiversity and protect critical ecosystems, governments across southern Africa have committed themselves to CBNRM through the enactment of enabling legislation, and development of policies that have promoted the implementation of CBNRM in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe (

Southern Africa are challenged with a number of issues which include:

Loss of biodiversity - is a growing trend in virtually all Earth ecosystems. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment document shows that losses of biodiversity and the related changes in the environment have been more rapid in the past 50 years than ever before in human history (MEA 2005).

Human-wildlife conflicts - most of the protected areas in sub-Saharan Africa are situated in the rural areas. However, given the effect on communities, decisions to allocate lands for conservation have often faced resistance. This type of land use is perceived as an infringement of the rights of other stakeholders. This is the case when the conservation process involves evicting people from these areas and/or denying them access to the resources critical for their livelihoods (Benjamines et al. 2009).

Poverty - at household level, poverty, reduces ability of people to improve on existing livelihood strategies, thus forcing them to opt for coping strategies that are unsustainable and ecologically destructive. Food insecurity and income poverty resulting from this scenario may lead to conversion of more wildlife habitats into croplands as well as killing of wild animals for protein (Hackel 1999, Loibooki et al. 2002, Kideghesho et al. 2005, Wittemyer et al. 2008). Wood fuel (firewood and charcoal) has remained the most dominant and reliable source of energy for cooking and heating, in rural areas, The ever increasing fuel energy demands put more woodlands areas under pressure thereby driving significant land cover change of most unprotected rangelands.

Human population growth - The rapid human demographic growth increases demand and competition for resources that has resulted in an increased exploitation of resources at the highest level beyond the capacity of the available resources. The demands were associated with wildlife and habitat destruction including land for settlements, cultivation and livestock grazing; plants for fuel wood, building poles, and timber; and water points for livestock and domestic use. Essentially, demographic growth is the prime cause of wildlife poaching and habitat loss (Campbell et al. 2001, Loibooki et al. 2002, Kideghesho et al. 2005).

Program focus

The program focus developing strategies and systems for community based conservation that includes:

Community research

  • Applying community psychology methods and techniques to understand community needs

  • Develop community profiles and to derive an understanding of what community livelihood strategies are

  • Align Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment programmes with an understanding of what community needs are

Community engagement

  • Identify and assist with establishing suitable community engagement structures

  • Designing and implementing the process of developing and rolling out Park plans  for future investigations including the extent and manner of this participation of the community participation dynamics.

  • Establish and manage the procedures and systems to facilitate conservation plans  public participation

  • Research concerning the critical questions around the long term involvement of communities in park

Community impact research

  • Research with respect to animals causing damage in communities,which has constantly soured relationships between communities and protected areas. 

  • Research on compensation has not been clearly articulated in policies and the roles of national, provincial and municipal parks in the event that an animal escapes the park 

  • Research on the effectiveness of the "Resource Use Strategy and Implementation plan".

Community conservation participation and development

  • Developing procedures and systems for community to be actively involved in the process of conservation

  • Utilising Technology to enable community conservation

  • Integrating the CTECH programs into the community (Health, ECD, Youth enablement)

Cultural and eco-tourism

  • Developing sustainable economic and business opportunities around conservation