Mainstreaming sustainability into biodiversity conservation in Lesotho
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Biodiversity conservation is critical for the continued supply of ecosystem services to secure the sustainability of livelihoods, especially for poor rural people in developing countries. Current rates of biodiversity loss need to be curbed by using effective interventions and decision-making that again require timely information. Undertaking a community sustainability assessment to generate and structure this information for grassroots levels is critical for decision-making and actions. This paper presents insights from a community sustainability assessment initiative undertaken in Lesotho within a trans-boundary project area known as the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Project. A qualitative case study approach was employed through a combination of several data collection techniques, including a literature review, field observations, key informant interviews, group discussions and key informant workshops. Study participants consisted of members of the community conservation forums from three districts that had been established by the project. Regarding progress towards the sustainability of biodiversity in the study area, the results indicated that current practices are unsustainable, more from the point of view of the socio-ecological components than the socio-cultural and spiritual or the socio-economic components. Consequently, there is a need to raise awareness at the community level and implement action plans to realize changes that support the sustainability of biodiversity in the long term.
KeywordsSustainability assessment Stakeholder participation Biodiversity conservation Rural areas Sustainable development
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