Rival claims for conservation land

Other Names:
Conflicting rural land use
Park wars

Western-style conservation has become increasingly hard to justify in the face of moves by former inhabitants to reclaim the right to hunt, farm and occupy customary homelands fenced off for wildlife or habitat conservation. The migration of the urban poor to rural conservation areas, seeking a means to sustain themselves places further pressure on wildlife and habitat.


The Ngorongora Crater Reserve of Tanzania is one of Africa's highest priority protected areas. It is well known for its herds of wildebeest, zebra and antelope and the lions that feed on them. Yet the reserve is being seriously threatened by human populations desperate for land. Protecting the tiger in India has similar problems. India is crowded with many rural villages which, in some cases, have had to be relocated.

It was reported in 1996 that Botswana was forcibly moving thousands of indigenous bushmen out of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which was set up in 1961 to provide them with a last refuge. The driving force behind the removal of humans from the reserve is the recommendation of an EU-funded aid programme to promote the conservation of natural wildlife habitats, thus encouraging tourism. Similar cases have been reported by Oxfam: in Uganda, when the Ugandan Army forcibly evicted 35,000 people from the Kibale forest region in order to protect conservation values; and in Ethiopia where 7,000 are threatened with eviction so their land can be used for three national parks.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 15: Life on Land
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST