People and Parks: On the Relationship Between Community Development and Nature Conservation Amid Climate Change in South-Eastern Zimbabwe

  • Wedzerai Chiedza MandudzoEmail author
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Wildlife conservation is a topic that has captured public imagination in both developed and developing nations. This is evident by the creation and establishment of protected areas such as national parks and trans-boundary protected areas. In addition to their fundamental role of protecting natural resources, protected areas largely have the vital task of supporting tourism and socio-economic development of local communities. However, with the establishment of protected areas, the concept of communities’ dependence on natural resources has been ignored and protection of biodiversity taken precedence. Consequently, the prioritization of conservation over livelihoods has led to the widespread notion that conservation is a threat to development. Conservationists, on the other hand, assert that the onslaught of development is dependent on the same resources it threatens. This study evaluates the relationship between community development and nature conservation efforts among the Chitsa community and Gonarezhou National Park (GNP) in South-Eastern Zimbabwe amid climate change. In order to achieve the aim of the study, critical ethnography was employed, and utilized semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and life histories as data collection methods. Findings of the study reveal that nature conservation and community development have long represented contrasts in both research and practice. Of significance are imbalances that favour analyses and prioritization of nature conservation over community development outcomes supported by natural resources in resource dependent communities. It appears that nature conservation focuses on the strict protection of natural resources and ignores aspects of social and political processes involved in it hence it limits the people’s ability too adapt to climate change.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, Faculty of HumanitiesUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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