Collaborative monitoring in ecosystem management in South Africa's communal lands
Contributor(s)Fabricius, Christo, 1956-
KeywordsConservation of natural resources -- South Africa
Natural resources -- South Africa -- Management
Community development -- South Africa -- Citizen participation
Conservation of natural resources -- Social aspects -- South Africa
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AbstractInternationally there is an increasing focus on involving local communities in natural resource management and monitoring. Monitoring methods which are professionally driven appear to be inadequate to deal with the monitoring of natural resource use and biodiversity conservation, globally. This is especially evident in areas such as South African rural communal land. Two community based natural resource management (CBNRM) programmes in areas which are communally governed in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, namely Nqabara and Machubeni, were used as part of this research study. This thesis identified and tested potentially simple and cost effective monitoring methods related to the utilization of the local rangelands and indigenous forests. The criteria that were tested include 1) appropriateness and effectiveness in measuring change, and 2) contribution to building adaptive capacity among local land managers through learning. The criteria were assessed using a scoring system for each monitoring method in order to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses . This was done by using both quantitative and qualitative data. Contribution to building adaptive capacity was assessed by evaluating technical capacity gained, local ecological knowledge contributed and learning by participants. This was done using qualitative data. The results show that the monitoring methods had different strengths and weaknesses in relation to the criteria, making them more appropriate for different priorities such as effectively measuring change or building adaptive capacity. It is argued that an adaptive approach is a useful component in the participatory monitoring process. An adaptive framework was developed from lessons learnt in this study for collaborative monitoring. Challenges such as low literacy levels and adequate training still need to be addressed to strengthen efforts towards participatory monitoring. Factors such as incentives, conflict and local values may negatively affect the legitimacy and sustainability of participatory monitoring and therefore also need to be addressed.
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