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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Community-based Conservation:: Partnership between Social Sciences and Natural Sciences

Dr Reineth Prinsloo.

For many years nature conservation was about nature, and nature alone. Nature conservation policies were not linked to questions of equal opportunities, community development or education, and having access to wild space was not regarded as a right of citizenship. The creation of reserves and conservation initiatives were seldom done in consultation with the local communities. This resulted in conflicts between conservationists and the local people, human rights violations and the erosion of indigenous wildlife management systems. These conflicts posed a threat to the future of protected areas. Top-down approaches led to project failure. A protected area surrounded by 'enemy territory' is doomed to failure.

Caring for the Earth (1991) (World Conservation Union) mentions that a fundamental requirement for environmental management is to integrate conservation and development - conservation to keep actions within the Earth's capacity and development to enable people everywhere to enjoy long, healthy and fulfilling lives. The emerging new generation of mankind will have to support and promote the establishment of sustainable wildlife utilisation schemes that provide tangible and realistic benefits for man. These schemes will allow wild animals to become part of the life support systems of the world's rural people.

There is no doubt that humans and nature cannot be separated. Nature needs man and man definitely needs nature. Natural resources have to be managed in modern times due to the rapid pace of development. Cooperating with local communities, be it underdeveloped communities, industries or private landowners, is necessary to ensure sustainable outcomes.


Dr Reineth Prinsloo  (South Africa)
Senior lecturer
Department of Social Work Faculty of Humanities
University of Pretoria

I am a senior lecturer in the Department of Social Work, specialising in intervention in groups, family development and guidance and community development. I am currently engaged in research on wildlife management, opening up a new horison on the link between humans and nature - social sciences and natural sciences.


(Virtual Presentation, English)