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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 377-409

Co-management of Contractual National Parks in South Africa: Lessons from Australia


1 International Institute for Environment and Development, 3 Endsleigh Street, London WC 1H 0DD, UK.
2 Box 533, WITS 2050, South Africa.
3 South African National Parks, PO Box 787, Pretoria 0001, South Africa.
4 Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, Department of Anthropology, University of Kent at Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NS, UK.

Correspondence Address:
Hannah Reid
International Institute for Environment and Development, 3 Endsleigh Street, London WC 1H 0DD, UK.

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Contractual national parks in South Africa and Australia have been established on land owned either by the state or a group of private individuals. They are managed by the national conservation authority according to the terms of a joint management agreement drawn up by a joint management committee usually consisting of representatives from the national conservation authority and the landowners. Since majority rule in 1994, South African contractual national parks have provided a model through which the country's conservation as well as development objectives can be met, particularly where landowners are previously disadvantaged communities. Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu National Parks in Australia were established on Aboriginal-owned land and have over fifteen years of experience in co-management. In view of the growing resurgence of protectionist approaches to conservation, this article assesses the success of contractual national parks in South Africa and Australia. Rather than reverting to protectionism, it seeks to build on experiences with joint management to date by analysing what lessons South Africa can learn from Australia regarding meeting the conservation, social and financial/economic objectives of its contractual national parks. Indeed, lessons learnt from both countries will be of value to all non-industrialised countries.


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