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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 2014 Vol. 10, No. 3, 216–227, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21513732.2014.942372 a b Fekadu Teferra and Fekadu Beyene * a b Oromia Forest and Wildlife Enterprise, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Haramaya University, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia This paper examines claims and conflicts in the management of the Abijata-Shalla Lakes National Park in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. We used data from households, key informants (elders, park managers), and focus group discussions. Poor wildlife policy resulting in space competition between wildlife and humans (other forms of land use), limited means of revenue generation for insiders and centralized benefits from tourism have accumulated grievance and then conflict between national park authority and local communities. Contested land tenure and overlapping claims generated by ill-defined property rights, as interrelated factors, sustained the conflicts. Weak information sharing, rising demographic pressure and conservation policies, giving more priority to global and national than local interests, contributed to the conflict. The result implies that efforts in revitalizing customary authorities and institutions and introducing a co-management strategy can immensely provide an avenue to manage conflicts between communities and park managers. Keywords: conflict; national park; customary institutions; co-management; claims Introduction The need for low cost conflict resolution and manage- ment has increasingly obtained a growing attention in Conflict represents a relationship between two or more common-pool resources literature (Ostrom 1990). It is parties who might have incompatible goals, values, inter- viewed as inseparable aspect in common-pool resource ests, or behavior. Within the context of the natural resource management. In a broad sense of the term, it includes all management, conflicts indicate the outcome of competi- activities that have the intention to reduce or resolve the tion and potential disagreement between two or more conflict (Wall & Callister 1995). As conflict is argued to groups over the use of one or more scarce resources have both positive and negative dimensions, the ‘ideal’ (Grimble 1998). The concept of conflict is used to express goal in conflict management is to attain desirable positive relationships among various economic actors who per- outcomes and reduce/eliminate its escalation to unneces- ceive to have a stake in the use of natural resources sarily destructive levels (Daniels & Walker 2001). Thus, (FAO 2000). Others give alternative explanation, such as conflict management has to mobilize local capacity that conflict is a form of interaction that should not neces- through the use of various local approaches such as cus- sarily be taken as a negative interaction. They further tomary laws and regulations, improved negotiation skills argue that conflict can be a form of interaction between and persuasive knowledge (FAO 2000). A response made actors and a form of communication to stakeholders asso- locally to conflict is seen as the easiest and quickest ciated with its causes, consequences, and remedies for available conflict management strategy. External support positive results such as emergence of new institutional should not be used as the major conflict management structures to manage the conflict and respond to diverse strategy because stakeholders at the local level are well but competing demands (Fisher & Ibrahim 2000). aware about their conflict situation. Such a support is only Conflicts within national parks can therefore be seen secondary and deemed necessary if local institutions can to be the result of diverse interests, goals, and aspira- no longer function effectively (Glasl 1999). tions that individuals or groups within legally estab- In practice, the goal of conflict management can be lished and isolated environments have, which all too realized under some circumstances: presence of strong often resulted in either positive or negative impacts on local institutions, clear resource boundaries, clear land the use value of the resource in the area (FAO 2000). In tenure, and well-defined property rights (Beyene 2009). this paper, the term conflicts is used to refer to relation- However, very often it becomes difficult to accomplish ships among park managers, local communities and this in practice. The problem is how to manage the ever other stakeholders with incompatible values, needs, increasing conflict in the management of national parks so interests, and goals. As such events become common that it yields positive outcomes. This paper presents causes in many developing countries, the institutional mechan- of conflicts and conflict resolution mechanisms in Abijata- isms of conflict management as part of natural resource Shalla Lakes National Park, central rift valley of Ethiopia. management has obtained greater emphasis than ever It tries to answer the question: what kind of management before (Homer-Dixon 1999). *Corresponding author. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org © 2014 Taylor & Francis International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 217 approaches and local capacities are available for construc- values (Westetal. 2006).Themethod usedtoestablish tive conflict management? The main objective of this natural resource management programs are also a source paper is to assess the challenges in managing the of conflict because the design and implementation Abijata-Shalla Lakes National Park. The specific objec- excludes relevant stakeholders – those who are closely tives are: (1) to examine the causes and dynamics of associated with the area to be protected (Lewis 1996; conflicts between local people and the park managing FAO 2000). authority and (2) to explore institutional arrangements A third source of conflict could be lack of participation that facilitate co-management in order to respond to con- in the process and thus a lack of sense of ownership in the tested claims over rights to resources. In achieving these outcomes. This is often recognized as a critique to the objectives, the paper contributes to the increasing body of methodology of protected area management and establish- knowledge in the natural resource management and con- ment (Lewis 1996;FAO 2000; Daniels & Walker 2001). servation literature. An incisive assessment of the relationship between local people and national parks shows that conflict is inherent as protected areas take away property rights of the people. Conservation and conflicts in protected area Such an action is often viewed as unjust since it drags the management welfare of the people and there is no fairness in the distribution of benefits even if parks generate economic A relatively recent data shows that protected areas occupy 11.5% of the Earth’s land surface compared to 3% in 1962 value (Wilkie et al. 2006). The designation of protected (IUCN 2005). The Protected Planet Report 2012 indicates areas in Ethiopia follows the classical approach character- the global target of protecting 17% of the terrestrial and ized by a top–down approach that emphasizes establish- inland waters biodiversity by 2020. The report indicates ment and enforcement of legislation and the assumption of that the 2010 status is 12.7% (Bertzky et al. 2012, p. 5). ownership of wildlife resources by the state (Hillman Protected areas are created throughout the world to con- 1993). As a result, local communities are faced with a serve biological diversity, protect critical watersheds, pre- rapidly diminishing natural resource base. Disagreement vent overexploitation of forest resources, and preserve between local communities and conservation authorities scenic natural areas. In Africa, the need to conserve wild- has escalated and law enforcement has become less prac- life whose numbers were drastically declining due to tical and more costly. As the human population grows, increased hunting, led to the establishment of formally demands on remaining resources have increased leading to protected areas starting early in the twentieth century environmental degradation and further conflict – a situa- (Johannesen 2007). Such conservation policy was intro- tion that can be explained by the environmental scarcity duced by colonial powers and later on expanded by the and conflict argument (Homer Dixon 1999). conservation experts (Pearce 2005). In Ethiopia, national A more appealing theoretical view explaining causes parks came into being in the late 1960s and early 1970s of conflict comes from the political ecology argument (Hillman 1993). The country has 20 national parks, three where the underlying causes of conflict can be attributed wildlife sanctuaries, two wildlife reserves, and 17 con- to either greed or grievance (Billon 2001). While greed trolled hunting areas, where protected areas of Ethiopia refers to engaging in violent conflict being motivated by (including protected forests) account for 16.4% of the total the need to accumulate wealth through taking away others area of the country (Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation resources, grievance occurs when a certain group is sys- Authority 2012). tematically marginalized (from making decisions) and eco- nomically by the prevailing policies and systems of Nevertheless, their establishment overlooked the live- lihood bases of local people, and the gazetting of national governance. Therefore, where grievance remains a cause, parks is in a direct conflict with local people’sliveli- the necessary measure would involve interventions to hoods. These conflicts have challenged practitioners to address grievance in order to manage the conflict over seek new methods for reconciling the trade-offs between resources and secure cooperation (Collier 2006). As a national conservation policies and local people’sdemand political ecology argument considers the link among the to sustain livelihoods (IUCN 1994). Conflict exists in rights of indigenous people, the connection between bio- national parks for various reasons. One is the lack of diversity conservation and the potential economic benefits attention to the process of involving local people and and the way the return to conventional protected areas can the other is excessive care for the protected area in the exclude the indigenous people, it helps to comprehend the planning, management, and decision-making. The second process through which grievance could emerge (Adams & reason is that communities nearby the park can have their Hutton 2007). In the context of this study, grievance arises own economic interests that contradict with the objective when communities residing in the area prior to the estab- of protected areas (i.e. grazing land, firewood, building lishment of the park are denied the rights to use resources materials, fodder, medicinal plants, and hunting needs). from the park and the managing authorities fail to involve In this regard, the interaction between people and nature them in the decision-making process and benefits from is overly simplified; undermining the sociocultural conservation. A typical case exists in Uganda where park dimensions of the protected areas as globalization has managers failed to reduce grievance even after sharing some of the revenues extracted from tourism associated induced a sole focus on economic and conservation 218 F. Teferra and F. Beyene with wildlife conservation (Adams & Infields 2003) indi- A brief description of the study site cating that embedded grievance is hard to eliminate. Abijata-Shalla Lakes National Park is located in the East Empirical studies reveal that experiences of displacing Showa and West Arsi zones of Oromia National Regional local people living within protected areas and surrounding State. It was established in 1974. The park area covers vicinities of the park, where these people were excluded three districts; Arsi Negele (North East and South), by park authorities, had a negative impact on the success Shalla (South West), and Adami Tullu Jido Kombolcha of conservation efforts (Borrini-Feyerabend & Farvar (North). Portion of the park in the Arsi-Negele, Shalla, 2002). Ethiopia was not an exception as the socialist and Adami Tulu Jido Kombolcha districts accounts for regime (1974–1991) practiced alienation and marginaliza- 85%, 10%, and 5%, respectively (Fekadu & Rezenom tion of local communities from the overall park manage- 2002). In terms of the human population size, 31,545 ment strategies where Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation settlers were from Arsi Negele, 7246 people from Organization had full control over the park’s resources. Shalla, and 4684 from Adami Tulu. Over the last three There was denial of customary rights of indigenous peo- decades, the livestock population inside the park has ples although the country had signed international conven- increased from 30,410 in 1971 to 202,644 in 2010. tion to protect the rights of indigenous people to their The population density of the settlers in the park is 19 resources (Abdulahi 2007). p/km . The park lies between the coordinates of 7°15ʹ– The legacy of such a conservation policy process is a 7°45ʹN and 38°30ʹ–38°45ʹE. It is found at about 207 km series of property rights conflict between park manage- South East of Addis Ababa. ASLNP comprises two types ment and the community living in the vicinity of the park. of ecosystems: aquatic (482 km ) and terrestrial (405 2 2 This was particularly pronounced during the collapse of km ) ecosystems covering a surface area of 887 km . socialist government in 1991 (Fekadu & Rezenom 2002). The climate of the study area can be described as semi- Since then the park management and development activ- arid for most of the year, with the rainy season between ities have been dramatically reduced as a result of more June and September and the dry season from October to illegal activities such as deforestation, extraction of sand February and the small rainy season in between. ASLNP and over-fishing within park boundary and nearby areas receives an annual rainfall ranging between 500 and (EWNHS 2002). The park has been rapidly losing its 700 mm with mean annual temperature of 20°C aesthetic and environmental values due to devastation of (Alemayehu et al. 2006). forest, water resources, and increasing scarcity of wildlife The vegetation in the central rift valley of Ethiopia is (NACID 2004). characterized by Acacia open woodland. Population pres- Collaborative conflict management or co-management sure during the last three decades has resulted in the con- promotes joint decision-making and seeks voluntary version of natural vegetation, overgrazing of natural agreement among disputants to realize a win–win solu- grasslands, removal of natural shrub for fire wood, and tion. Natural resource conflicts seem to be intertwined clearing of forests for construction material. As a conse- with co-management. Conflict over natural resources has quence of these changes in land use/cover, vulnerable slop- often prompted the establishment of co-management ing areas in the area face increased erosion and depletion of institutions (Castro & Nielson 2003). Investing in the nutrients required for vegetative growth (Ayenew 2004). creation of appropriate institutions is necessary to pro- About 50% (436) of the bird species in Ethiopia have duce incentives for management (Ostrom 1990). Thus, been recorded from the study area due to the proximity of co-management systems may also function as a means of numerous and diverse aquatic and terrestrial habitats in the conflict resolution between communities of local resource area (EWNHS 2002). Livestock-based agropastoralism is users and the state actors in which the process of nego- central to the livelihoods of many rural households around tiating over sharing of rights and responsibilities may the Rift Valley even though it is progressively encroached reduce conflicts (Pomeroy & Berkes 1997). Co- by subsistence agriculture. In the study area, livestock and management forums themselves can provide a space for crop production are the main sources of livelihoods (Bedru seeking compromises among participating stakeholders 2006). Greater dependence of residents on resources from or for generating wider support. It arises partly as a the park to generate their livelihoods, which can be response to the purely power-based or purely judicial regarded as direct economic benefits, and state objectives regulation of conflicts, both of which produce winners in protecting the park as conservation area has increased and losers. Because collaborative conflict management instability and conflict in the area (Tafesse 2008; Bethlehem is based on voluntary agreements, enforcement depends 2013). Understanding the process and searching for a solu- solely on all parties’ willingness to comply with an tion that can foster cooperation between indigenous com- agreement (Borrini-Feyerabend et al. 2004). In addition, munities and the state in managing the wildlife habitat is the co-management can facilitate adaptive learning through prime driver of this study. linking various stakeholders. And this kind of learning and facilitation approach in co-management has proved Methods useful especially in increasing participation, building local capacities, and reducing conflicts (Wollenberg The data collection methods followed a series of steps et al. 2004). including focus group discussions, historical narratives, International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 219 interviews of sample respondents, use of participatory Results and discussion rural appraisal tools, and key informant interviews. A Land acquisition, settlement, and history of the conflict three-stage sampling procedure was applied to draw the A community whose majority has low educational level required number of sample units for the study. First, Arsi- may not understand the rationale behind conservation Negele district was purposively selected out of three dis- and management of wildlife and appreciate the non- tricts with which the park share its boundary and for consumptive value of wildlife. The survey shows that encompassing larger proportion (85%) of the park and 50% of the respondents acquired land inside the park. for frequent conflicts between the park managers and There were two views regarding history of population local communities (Fekadu & Rezenom 2002). In the settlement in the central rift valley and the ASLNP in second stage, four peasant associations were purposely particular. EWNHS (2002) indicates that the settlement selected out of 18 kebeles (lowest administrative units) in the park is not a long history and people permanently found within and outside the park based on their interac- settled in the park came from surrounding highland areas tion with the ASLNP and park administration. In the third in recent times in need of grazing resources. Others indi- stage, using a sampling frame of households from eight cate that permanent settlement into the study site took kebeles, a total of 140 households were drawn randomly place gradually where the process took place since the using probability proportional to size. Oromo population expansion to the area in the sixteenth Both qualitative and quantitative data sources were century (Fekadu & Rezenom 2002). Evidence from inter- used from primary and secondary sources. The primary views and looking at the date of establishment of the park, data were gathered through the household survey, focus shows that local people have legitimate claims from a group discussion, key informant interviews, and personal historical and sociocultural perspectives with regard to observation. Key informants selected for the study property rights to the park resources. Along this, a recent included community elders (7) who had experience in study reveals that almost 70% of the forestland changes in conflict resolution and participated in the process, 5 kebele Africa in the 1980s occurred through the degradation of and 3 district officials and 5 experts. The issues covered in closed forest to open fragmented forest areas marked by the survey include perceptions on resource use conflicts, shifting cultivation with short fallow periods. In Rwanda, land holding, awareness on park management (its policy for instance, about 40% of the country’s national parks and community participation, benefit sharing experience), were cleared for farming in mid-1990s (World Bank conflict resolution mechanisms and its impacts, and pre- 2004). As a result, governments have aggressively worked ference of community to cooperate in the management of on establishing parks to overcome deforestation and degra- the park. dation that in turn made local people, especially young- A total of five focus group discussions were con- sters, landless. In the study area, the number of landless ducted while a group contained six to eight individuals. rural households has increased from 30% to 45% over a In selecting participants for the group discussion, we period of a decade (Desalegn et al. 2004). This phenom- considered the inclusion of different age groups and enon has increased conflicts through time. social status to capture as diverse opinion as possible. Conflicts related to the park lasted over nearly 40 years The checklist used for focus group discussions consists (Table 1). The recurrence of the conflict and unstable of questions on the difference between modern and tradi- property rights structure has weakened park management, tional mechanisms of conflict resolution and strategies for which was partly attributed to the grievance inherent in the cooperation between local communities and park man- loss of the rights to benefit from resources inside the park. agers and penalties imposed on defaulters. This was In 2010, 43,475 people were reported as residents who crucial to explore the underlying challenges faced in the settled in the park for farming and grazing their animals management process and identify ways for co-manage- without any control taking revenge. Charcoal making and ment. During the focus group discussions, the informa- farming have already depleted the vegetation cover. The tion collected from one group in one kebele was cross- survey data shows that of the sampled respondents, 93% checked with another group in another kebele (data trian- collect firewood, 89% use timber for construction, and gulation), which helped in scrutinizing diverse interests 85% make use of the forest resources to make furniture among the stakeholders benefiting from the park and and farm implements, and 18% produce charcoal from defying the establishment of the park. The consistency the park. Illegal fishing has exhausted the fish stocks of the data generated by different data collection methods which are important food for fish-eating birds. Besides was also checked (method triangulation).The quantitative local communities, there are other stakeholders who data was analyzed using simple descriptive statistics tools are intensively engaged in the extraction of resources. (averages, range, percentages, and frequencies) while Overharvesting of natural resources related to multiple qualitative data analysis involved comparing views on uses and users makes it difficult to consider it as optimal the nature of conflicts attributed to claims for resource use of the resources supporting sustainable use. A related use rights and description of historical and institutional study reaffirms that a growing land scarcity due to agri- factors affecting relationships between indigenous com- cultural expansion and poor education that undermined munities and park management. 220 F. Teferra and F. Beyene Table 1. Historical overview of property rights and conflict in ASLNP. No. Time line Chronological events 1 Pre-Italian Period (before 1939) Land was used for communal grazing 2 1942–74 (resource depletion) Land distributed to individuals where state granted use rights; Small scale modern farms introduced; Environmental damage incurred by the introduction of tractors; ASLNP established without the consent of local communities 3 1974–91(Revolution and Communities entered the race of resource exploitation, exploiting the post revolution) abandoned acacia trees(1974–78); Soda Ash plant established in the northern shore of Lake Abiyata; Strict government control of the forest and the park in place 4 Park condition since 1991 ASLNP fell victim of despairing communities; (transition to nearly There was extensive damage to the property of ASLNP and wildlife; open – access condition) Illegal harvesting of trees, farm land expansion, and charcoal making was no longer a risky venture; ASLNP was divided into 11 kebeles 5 1996–2009 (contested ASLNP management relegated under Oromia Agriculture Bureau; decentralization) There was lack of coordination and overlapping claims between different Bureaus of Oromia Regional Government regarding ASLNP; The park was divided into 18 kebeles resulting in boundary disputes; The park fell victim to land grabbing in the name of investment promotion 6 From 2009 (recentralization) ASLNP recentralized under Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority Source: Interviews. people’s understanding over the noneconomic benefits of Table 2. Sample households depending on forest products for conserving the ecosystems has aggravated the problem various purposes. (Kumsa & Bekele 2014). Forest product No. of respondents Percentage Firewood 130 93 Causes of conflicts Construction poles 125 89 Home utensils and 119 85 A number of factors contributed to the emergence and agricultural implements persistence of conflicts between local people and the Wild fruits 93 62 park managing authorities. These factors are correlated Honey 40 29 having a cross-influence. First, there has been a rapid Charcoal 35 25 growth of human population experienced recently from Medicinal plants 25 18 20,599 in 1996 to 24,785 in 2000 with a growth rate of Source: Field survey in 2010. 4.6% where this was even faster (Senbeta & Teferra 2001) between 2000 and 2010 from 24,785 to 43,673 with a rate and livestock due to predation from the wildlife. But the of 6% owing to high birth rate and declining mortality consequent retaliation by farmers through hunting and rate. There has also been a rapid encroachment into the park in 1991 following the collapse of the socialist gov- killing the animals put a threat to the conservation ernment. This has resulted in the decline of average hold- objective of the central government. The survey shows ings and further competition among farmers to expand that 85% of the respondents reported serious damages to land for cultivation which has caused encroaching on their livelihoods due to the presence of the wildlife. Of land available for grazing and wildlife conservation. those respondents who indicated damage due to wildlife, Such a process ultimately led to intensification of violence 42% reported crop damage, 12% mentioned livestock complicating management of the park as an ecosystem. loss, and 46.6% indicated both crop damage and live- While over-exploitation of wood for fuel-wood and build- stock loss. The survey further shows that Warthog ing materials led to a decline in woody vegetation which (Phacochoerus africanus) (65%), Porcupines (Hystrix could induce changes in the local climate, a more erratic cristata) (14%), Common Baboons (Papio anubis) rainfall and severe soil erosion caused siltation that (10%), and Grant’s Gazelle (Gazella granti) (11%) resulted in decline in the size of the lake. There are also cause crop damages, whereas Spotted Hyena (Crucuta other non-destructive uses of the natural resources from crucuta) (45%) and Common Jackals (Canis mesome- the park (Table 2). las) (40%) were wild animals responsible for livestock The second factor was the competition between predation. Livestock that are sources of livelihood for wildlife and humans for space. The conservation plans households are now under serious threat. Although live- of the park reduced the harmony between humans and stock population is increasing over time, the focus the wildlife. This is associated with the fact that wildlife group discussion reveals that per capita holding is conservation contributed to the increased loss of crops declining (Table 3). International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 221 Table 3. Livestock population in the park in different years. labeled as loltuu (soldier), a term which evokes the mili- taristic perceptions villagers have. The survey indicates Livestock population that the majority of sample respondents (85%) underlined Types of the park officers were using power, harassment, and inti- livestock 1971 1978 1996 2007 2010 midation to conserve the park, 10% expressed having a good relationship with the scouts, and 5% are uncertain. Cattle 21,485 27,670 48,890 132,629 134,260 Shoat 6476 11,000 19,100 40,490 54,574 Hence, complexities in natural resource management Equines 2449 5380 6716 10,153 11,200 embedded in problems of mismatch between ecosystem Total 30,410 44,050 74,706 183,272 202,644 management of protected areas and restoration of local user-rights are critical challenges to different state and Note: Horse, mule, and donkey. Source: Debele (2007); Districts’ Agricultural Office (2010). non-state organizations (Ascher 2001). The fourth factor is the absence of local people’s parti- cipation in park management and revenue sharing. The Large members of the community did not have tech- prevailing wildlife policy stated that participatory and sus- nological means (well-built enclosure) to protect their tainable wildlife conservation would be implemented livestock against predators. Thus, spotted hyenas can along with the international wildlife conventions and easily sneak themselves into the enclosure and kill their agreements (FDRE 2007). While ecotourism has the poten- livestock – a situation where farmers incur increased eco- tial to contribute to the national economy and welfare of nomic loss as more and more wild animals reproduce inside local communities, there are important questions concern- the park. These costs translate into prevalent human–wild- ing the distribution of benefits and costs. The generation of life conflicts. A similar situation was observed in Tanzania income through tourism creates its own dynamics of com- where conflict between wildlife and local people living petition as different parties attempt to dominate the result- adjacent to protected areas where over 71% of local people ing revenue streams from the park. In one decade alone, had conflict with wildlife (Neumann 1992). Strong oppo- the park generated 1,993,582 ETB from 65,526 visitors. sition against conservation program and protected areas Though the revenue generated from tourism is declining have been linked to crop damage and livestock predation between 2006 and 2009, there is no institutional mechanism and opportunity costs of land and other resources. A num- to redistribute the benefits from conservation efforts where ber of studies often attribute wildlife poaching to increased local fees collected from tourists could have partly compen- crop loss (Kideghesho et al. 2005). Crop raiding and sated for the welfare loss. In examining participation of threat to human life triggered hostility and opposition to local people in park management and their interest to coop- conservation of wild animals among peasants is also com- erate with the park administration, 95% of the respondents mon in Kenya’s Laikipia District (Gadd 2005). indicated no involvement in any aspect in park manage- The third important reason was the weak wildlife policy ment. They prefer the area to be used for agriculture and of the country. Ethiopian government has recently adopted grazing land. Only those who were employed as a guard a new wildlife policy intended to effectively address the (5%) were benefiting as park scouts. Insights from the problems and obstacles that have plagued wildlife manage- group discussion disclose that others who have close rela- ment in Ethiopia. The new policy (endorsed by the procla- tionship with the park staff and had served as tourist guides mation No. 541/2007) issued, however, retains state indicated that they benefited from the presence of park. In ownership and control of wildlife resources. Continued this case, the revenues collected from tourism at park gates state ownership and control of wildlife resources perpetu- are seen as national revenues to be shared at the national ates the ‘wildlife-first’ philosophy of biodiversity conser- level where national conservation policy implemented in vation. The use of protected area network as a principal Oromia are creating spillovers for other regional states management tool and patron–client relationships that have while causing an envy for the local people. marked undesirable government–community relations in A unique phenomenon in this case is that the spectrum wildlife and other natural resource management reduced of conflict is not confined to ‘between the park manage- the social welfare while enabling the state generate revenue ment and the local communities’. There is also an inherent from tourism industry. But the number of tourists has land use dispute among the communities themselves as declined since 2007. In this case, a policy that increases some need the park resource for grazing while others tend welfare loss among indigenous claimants could even con- to establish family farms to cultivate crops. However, the tribute to the perpetuation of the conflict. internal disputes over land use has been overshadowed by This policy has been perceived negatively by the local the conflict between indigenous people and the protected communities where they expressed their resentment area managers. This condition may complicate the pro- against the coercive form of protection in place from the spect of conflict management process. Though the focus of ASLNP administration. At present, the park scouts patrol this paper was on the broader conflict than on internal land the environs of the villages in an intimidating fashion, use disputes, it is essential to consider the internal social dressed in army-like fatigues, carrying rifles and do not and livelihood diversity in analyzing the conflicts. An spare from confiscating forest products that the residents important lesson here is that land use dispute between use for subsistence purposes. The scouts are locally herders and farmers has been less emphasized as both 222 F. Teferra and F. Beyene have recognized the presence of the national park as their factor of production. It is perceived as a basis for expres- common threat. sion and maintenance of identities where people strived to maintain identities by maintaining their territory. Kinship terms used by local people demonstrate how people are Poor communication and institutional ambiguity related to land and consequently behave towards it. For Communication and ambiguity of rights can also be a instance, Arsi Oromo use the term araddaa referring to source of conflict. In this particular case, poor information minimal lineage and land around the dwelling units. sharing and communication between governing authorities Nevertheless, the Oromia Rural Land Administration and and the local people undermines collective action in the Use Proclamation No 56/2002 has disqualified the de facto management of protected areas. This is because informa- ownership of people living in protected areas making them tion sharing between the park administration and local squatters on their own customary land. Insight from the people is vital for effective communication and future discussion indicates that those settling in the park were negotiations (Lewis 1996). We tried to examine respon- denied the right to have land title and certificate. The dents familiarity with any conservation law and objective provisions of the proclamation were ambiguous over the of the park and how often local communities had a meeting fate of those people living in the park – whether they will and discussed with the park administrative staff on any be relocated from the park or secure land use rights certi- ficate within the park. The survey indicates that house- issue of concern. The result shows that 25% of the respon- dents were aware of laws and objectives while 60% holds residing inside the park also pay land tax to the reported were not. This indicates that poor communication regional government where a household can pay as much with the majority of the inhabitants could make the relation- as 112 ETB and a minimum of 46 ETB per annum. The ship between indigenous claimants and the park adminis- regional land policy provides the right to possess land tration hostile as the park officers failed to learn about local certificate by tax payers so long as they have use-rights conditions, needs, and preferences which would restrain the to the land under their holdings. This process has created possibility of developing collective problem solving. uncertainty over land rights. The government is the de jure owner of the park and Key informant interviews indicate that park managers the local communities are the de facto managers of the and park scouts considered the national park as an irre- park. This has its own multi-dimensional implication for placeable sanctuary of biodiversity and natural scenery. conservation and use of the park. While disputes appear to This justification, while satisfying the national and global revolve around concerns of livelihood security for the environmental agendas, was criticized by local inhabitants, local people, in particular access to and use of resources, who recognize that the protection of nature cannot be the state protects the park exclusively for research, con- separated from local livelihood security. The conservation servation, and tourism development; hence, property rights authorities believe that the state has the obligation to con- are contested and unenforceable causing a widespread trol the national heritage of the park through persuading illegal use and encroachment. Local people perceive their people to respect the law. Many of them supported the own livelihood attached to the resource for a long period forced eviction of the squatters from the national park. of time and recognize it to be their customary right to They also stressed the need to enforce strict control of exploit the natural resource system. As a result, they resource use within the park. They aim at increasing access continued their old practices and engaged in protests restriction to forest products and unauthorized forest clear- when park officials tried to enforce the law that is locally ing. This arises from the perception of the park authorities perceived as illegitimate action. The absence of secure in that local inhabitants exploit forests in order to generate extra income rather than as a result of lack of livelihood property rights for the local people has contributed to excessive exploitation of natural resources and diminished make alternatives to meet their basic needs. Consequently, biodiversity. Local people’s claims over the land and local settlers were seen as disruptive forces on the fringe. resources in the park and state failure to respond to this The conservationists’ conception of protected areas as demand eventually contributed to protracted conflict. This untouched areas of nature preservation did not correspond clearly indicates that the state is neither protecting its to the view of local inhabitants. Local people felt that property rights nor devising ways to accommodate local conservation authorities were favoring the rights of flora community interests into some resources where indigen- and fauna at the expense of indigenous rights to livelihood ous claims are based on customary rights to resources in resources and tend to raise the question why conservation the protected areas prior to its delineation. What is being rules are not adjusted to respond to local realities. observed in here is the inefficient property rights arrange- Lastly, boundary uncertainty among local people is ment where neither of the two ensures security of rights. seen as an institutional variable indicating the inherent The state is ineffective, first to enforce rules in the case of feature of contested claims and conflicts. The park passes the national park, and second to make rules to govern through multiple kebeles where there is no overlap resource utilization of other stakeholders in the area. between local administrative boundaries and park bound- Another institutional issue considered in this study is aries. The absence of overlap generated new problem for the perception on ambiguity of rights to land inside the both the kebeles and the park. In some cases, the jurisdic- park. For communities of Arsi-Negele, land is more than a tion of the kebeles is intruded while in other cases the International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 223 management interest and objectives of the park are vio- thereby ensuring sustainability in the biodiversity manage- lated. This contributes to fragmented jurisdiction, owner- ment in many countries has been widely acknowledged ship and management. This is partly attributed to the poor (IUCN 1997). Volunteering them to take part in conflict knowledge of boundary designation. For instance, the management in the process of environmental protection survey indicates that 77% of the respondents were not often requires introducing a co-management arrangement. aware of the park boundary while 15% of the respondents Insight from the discussions indicates that local people’s referred the park boundary to park headquarters. This has historical grievances and the spiritual and cultural values an implication for outright resistance of the respondents to attached to the resources inside the park can be commu- park management and their suspicion over boundary re- nicated through this process. For instance, the religious demarcation. Limited agreement over boundary and its rituals of the Oromo people at the shores of the lakes possible shift over time, poor accountability, and weak would be recognized and access rights to those sacred control over certain areas are some of the factors fuelling places are granted through negotiation of the elders with conflicts. In a few kebeles, claims to ancestral land rights the park managers. and rebuttal to the existence of the park was experienced, In this study, co-management was considered as useful which is consistent with other studies where local people’s option where overwhelmingly the majority of respondents ignorance of the boundary of the park reflects their hosti- (82%) preferred change on the existing management sys- lity towards protected area management (Mühlenberg & tem of the park and suggested co-management of the park Steinhauer 1995; Johannesen 2007). with the state even though 12% of the respondents still opted for community-based management. Some of the reasons stated for co-management were lack of skills and Conflict management limited capacity (facilities and knowledge) of the local Evidence from the field enabled us to identify two ways of people to manage the national park. Critical analysis of managing the conflict resulting from indigenous commu- the responses from interviews shows that co-management nities’ claims to resource inside the park and the national strengthens long-term stakeholders’ relationship. It pro- government’s strict conservation program: the use of duces enforceable agreements in case of disputes as the elders (customary institutions) and co-management. process permits direct participation by the disputants Elders contribute in two ways: they can enforce the rules where dialogue paves the way to reconciliation. and regulations through reconciliation and they serve as Co-management could serve as a strategy to induce intermediary between the local people and park authori- collective action at local level to overcome systematic ties. While discussion with key informants indicates that at resistance to state conservation plan where this actually least 80% of conflict cases are handled by customary requires attitudinal change among local residents. The role leaders, the survey also indicates that 94% of the respon- of local representatives elected to serve public interests is dents prefer intervention by elders to formal procedures crucial in two ways: avoiding information asymmetry and 6% prefer the formal court. Despite such inherent where local people perceived them as shirking their duties strength in the customary procedure, the park managers as they are paid by the state or are co-opted by it showing did not yet fully recognize the role elders play in mana- the characteristic of the principal–agent relationship. The ging the conflict. existing literature indicates such problems, as common Elders or customary authorities have a vital role to characteristic of developing countries, can be tackled through fighting corruption or transforming into a mature play in controlling overuse of grazing resources inside democratic system of governance (Brockington 2008). A the park. They have the means to make use of their social similar situation existed among pastoral herders in central capital in monitoring herders who might have come from long distance and claim for the use of resources inside the Ethiopia where loss of grazing land incurred due to the park. These herders do not belong to the communities delineation of the Awash National Park, where a study around the park who do pose claims to use such resources indicates that herding communities need to receive a com- as they lost their grazing areas traditionally used to the pensation of 7 million ETB in return for their welfare loss conservation. Elders devise institutional mechanisms to due to the establishment of the park. An element of co- reduce the pressure on the park. Park managers can use management has been introduced in terms of providing elders to influence other members of the society. Insights employment opportunity for the residents in the area to from the discussions indicated that the respect and positive serve as scouts who are paid and systematically influence values still preserved for elders can be exploited and used herders not to overuse grazing resources in the park (Jemal in managing conflicts and the park. The field evidence et al. 2008). shows that reliance on scouts and ignoring influential To respond to the human and livestock population elders in the management has increased coalition of increase and the competition for space between wildlife diverse interest groups in the resource to hold firm stand and humans in the protected area, a more comprehensive in resisting protection of the park. The use of elders or strategy needs to be introduced. For instance, increasing customary authorities of the indigenous peoples in the livestock and land productivity around the park or inside management of conflicts over the use of protected areas, the park might help to buffer against further settlement in their roles in reducing costs of enforcing agreements and the park and a systematic expansion of agricultural farms. 224 F. Teferra and F. Beyene This can be successful through the adoption of improved Sharing of certain conservation benefits to local farm- crop and livestock technologies. Meanwhile, a wildlife ing communities in the form of improving infrastructure population control strategy that keeps a balance between supply would promote attitudinal change towards the park, the population and its habitats resolves the aggressive which was missing in the past. Co-management requires predation of different species to the livestock and crops. ensuring convergence between the OFWE and local peo- As the increase in population of each species surpasses the ple’s representatives elected through the customary author- parks carrying capacity, predation is unavoidable though a ity which can coordinate local activities through recent study indicates fluctuations in the wildlife popula- mobilizing those herders and farmers using resources tion trend (Kumsa & Bekele 2014). Hence, a state role from the park. In this case, co-managers play a crucial in enhancing crop and livestock technology transfer role in influencing the enterprise, district level decision- with a parallel monitoring of wildlife population reinforces makers, and local people. We recognize that co-manage- the collaboration between the state and the community. ment needs to be a reiterative process with no fixed set of In some cases, governments establish trophy hunting actions but is subject to flexibility to attain sustainable such as game parks in connection with expansion of tour- local livelihoods and conservation goals. A co-manage- ism industry to control wildlife population which is ment approach in this case corresponds with the recently expected to have economic as well as conservation bene- introduced idea of protected area management where the fits (Lindsey et al. 2007) while others use sterilizing of concept of socioecological approach has been considered. selected female population to control reproduction (Lauber It helps to respond to the traditional approach of isolating et al. 2007). Lethal and fertility controls are actually sub- local people and/or undermining their participation. This ject to ethical judgment from the point of view of protect- approach recognizes the importance of addressing the ing animal welfare. In any case, socioeconomic objective diverse needs where resources from protected areas are at local level in sustaining livelihoods of people and needed to fulfil multiple demands at local level. This conservation objectives at the national level can be ful- contributes to the long-term management of the park and filled in such a way. Therefore, co-management could conservation of biodiversity (Palomo et al. 2014). involve a complex set of actions needed, requiring coop- Many scholars have also argued that co-management eration of the state and the society with their defined roles systems may function as a means of conflict management and responsibilities. We have sketched some institutional between local resource users and the state conservation structure within which co-management can be functional. authorities (Borrini-Feyerabend et al. 2004). The processes Refining and redefining the nature of relationships among of negotiation, bargaining, and setting up co-management various actors is necessary. As it exists, the scouts are agreements that codify the rights and responsibilities of employees of the Oromia Forest and Wildlife Enterprise involved parties reduce conflicts. Successful reduction of (OFWE) working in cooperation with district officials, conflicts is essential for long-term planning and to gain the and fall under the direct command of the enterprise. The willingness of the stakeholders to invest in the develop- extent to which district officials make use of customary ment of effective institutions (Carlsson & Berkes 2005). authority (elders, village chief) is limited, which needs Empirical evidence elsewhere indicates that community to be strengthened to make co-management effective. participation in park management scheme enables park Otherwise, emphasizing the formal structure runs the risk managers to facilitate adoption of successful indigenous of overlooking extensive deliberation, negotiation, and conservation measures, increase awareness on possible joint-learning to manage conflicts and promote attitudinal benefits from conservation, and provide institutional and change favoring conservation (Figure 1). infrastructure development options (Andrew-Essien & Oromia Forest and Wildlife Enterprise authority Technology and benefits from tourism Herders (pastoral/agropastoral) Scouts District Officials and Customary Authority experts Farming Community Agriculture Office Co-managers Figure 1. Institutional framework for co-management. Dotted lines represent proposed relationships and solid lines indicate existing relationships. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 225 Bisong 2009). This study confirmed that conservation distinguished as customary right holders. National policies policy that was promulgated without involvement of in relation to land administration as well as wildlife policy local stakeholders deemed to fail as it favored protectionist do share the same attribute in that they failed to contex- approach undermining the complex land use systems and tualize the land use systems by people living in and diverse livelihoods that in turn generated discontent and adjacent to the protected areas, undermining the complex retaliatory action. and multifunctional nature of the resources to meet differ- Grievance over the share of benefits from conserva- ent economic and noneconomic demands. They were tion, which is the revenue from visitors’ fees, has created rather based on the centralized approaches where much undesirable conditions in support conservation. Such grie- of the management decisions are being made at federal vance is an important cause of conflict, resentment, and and regional levels. The provisions indicated in proclama- weak cooperation for which a strategic solution needs to tions supporting community participation remained rheto- be introduced to induce co-management. This problem is ric and were not translated into practice. Although not peculiar to ASLNP; it is common to all Ethiopian customary institutions of communities inside and outside A failure to resolve this problem that undermines parks. the park could be used to resolve the conflict, their uses public support for conservation will have a far-reaching were confined to local communities. Extended use of these implication in attaining the conservation objectives at the institutions to engage in the park management was not yet national level. Technological change in farming and live- observed. This suggests that the park management should stock production and redirecting of benefits from tourism rework on creating and strengthening the link between to be shared with local people may jointly create a stimu- formal authorities and elders and co-opt them as part of lus for the herders and farmers to recognize and respect the the park management that would help revise ways to park boundary and cooperate with the scouts. The situation reverse ambiguity of property rights and entail continued in this case is explained well with the political ecology negotiations and maneuvers. As part of co-management, argument indicating the need to consider the indigenous this process will reduce the uncertainties and fear asso- peoples’ rights to derive benefits from the resources, the ciated with boundaries of the park that were only provided decision-making process that has excluded local people in on paper without proper consultation with local stake- the delineation the park and then the socioecological holders. A more appealing conservation strategy could be approach appreciating the need to recognize peoples’ devising institutional means through which revenues diverse needs, their psychological, cultural, and spiritual earned from resource conservation could be shared locally attachment to the park in which management should be and nondestructive resource uses by the locals be allowed, planned by considering the entire landscape than simply in a way diverse needs are addressed and compromises are seeing the park in isolation (Palomo et al. 2014). negotiated to win public support. In examining the conflict Experiences elsewhere reveal that sharing of conserva- between state-based conservation plan and indigenous tion benefits generates positive outcomes in gaining public claimants, a number of issues were systematically support. For instance, Ugandan wildlife authorities recog- addressed. But there are still issues for further research, nize the importance of support by local people in conser- specifically how governments and park management per- vation efforts and share 20% of locally generated income ceive their role in terms of managing local conflicts as the from tourism to local communities through their local park formally falls within their jurisdictions. And sec- governments (Namara 2006). Likewise, Zambia’s ondly, how the park can sustainably managed, amidst National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) retain 50% overlapping claims owing to unclear land tenure and ill- of earnings from game license fees while the remaining defined property rights where population growth becomes 50% of the benefit flows into the national treasury a threat, require careful investigation. (Andrew-Essien & Bisong 2009). Where benefits from conservation are attractive, people tend to be more sup- Acknowledgments portive of various conservation initiatives (Magome & We are grateful to the financial support from the SOS Sahel and Fabricius 2004). However, when revenues shared among Farm Africa. We wish to extend our thanks to Arsi-Negele indigenous claimants are found to be insignificant com- Dsitrict Agriculture Office experts (Ato Abdulqadir and Ato pared to foregone economic benefits due to state’s action Getachew Kebede) for their cooperation during the data collec- in excluding them from the use of park resources, grie- tion phase. The comments from the two anonymous reviewers vances may not reduce and conflict could sustain as were very helpful to refine and improve the manuscript. We also thank the editors for their encouraging comments. Adams and Infields (2003) have argued. Conclusions Notes 1. 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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management – Taylor & Francis
Published: Jul 3, 2014
Keywords: conflict; national park; customary institutions; co-management; claims
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