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Color Icon Zimbabwe:
Landuse in Dry Tropical Savannas

Communal area conservancy

That 6 neighbouring villages come together and agree to set up a conservancy. All villages agree to stop all agricultural activities and agree to give up land that can be amalgamated into a communal area conservancy which will be multipurpose; wildlife, fishing, honey, crafts, chalets, non-wood forest products (medicines, mushrooms). Communities will propose and participate in any of the activities best suited to their interest and skill. The villages consult with parks advisors and get information on wildlife options and logistics.

People living in the proposed scheme agree to voluntary resettlement and also contribute to a conservancy fund which is set up to develop infrastructure needed. Donors give additional capital. A committee comprising the 6 villages is set up to coordinate the scheme. Households derive benefits on the basis of their start up contributions.

Limitations and constraints

  • The people have to have a means of subsistence before they start receiving income from the scheme.
  • Communal areas are deforested and may need to be boosted in terms of vegetation if carrying capacity is to be improved.
  • The idea of differential benefits for differential benefits may not be accepted especially from the point of view that it will widen further the gap between, the haves and have nots.
  • Infrastructure for setting up conservancies is expensive (chalets, dams, boreholes, fencing, buying in wildlife). The envisaged contributions may not be sufficient to raise the initial capital required.
  • The assumption that income from the scheme will be higher than the income and opportunity cost of the foregone agricultural activities may not hold true.
  • It may not be easy to identify and delineate and limit membership to the conservancy (absentee husbands, children).
  • It may be difficult to keep away external political influences.
  • Land tenure may not be interchangeable in future.

Key variables for decision making

  1. Current value of existing system
  2. Size of proposed project
  3. Carrying capacity
  4. Availability of wildlife
  5. Organizational structure

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