The potentials for co-management approaches in western Serengeti, Tanzania

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Co-management arrangements are increasingly gaining popularity as an intervention to overcome the shortcomings of centralized management that impede harmonization of conflicting interests among the diverse stakeholder groups. The success of these arrangements depends, among other things, upon capitalizing on potentials existing in the area where they are intended to be implemented. This study was conducted in the western part of Serengeti National Park to analyze some potential for adopting the co-management approaches. We employed local communities’ opinions, experience, knowledge, and attitudes to analyze these factors. The paper is framed around the premises that, among other things, co-management arrangements have the potential to work if: (i) the local communities have an outstanding level of awareness on the rationale of, and legal aspects pertaining to, wildlife conservation; (ii) the traditional institutions for management of natural resources exist and local communities have the ability to evaluate their performance, establish causes for inadequate performance and propose some workable solutions; (iii) local communities have the ability to evaluate different options for resource ownership and give valid reasons for opposing or supporting them. In conclusion we underscore the need for co-management approaches as an alternative intervention and a complement for current resource management approaches. We recommend promotion of local awareness on legal aspects of resource management, strengthening of traditional institutions for resource management and honoring people’s choices of the types of resource ownership or rectifying the situations making them unpopular.


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Western Serengeti, Tanzania, Co-management approaches, Local communities, Traditional institutions, Ownership, Centralized management, Wildlife