Conservation, green/blue grabbing, and accumulation by dispossession in Tanzania
A number of scholars point out that current processes surrounding the control of land and other resources lead to the loss of land for some alongside the accumulation of wealth by others. According to them, recent forms of neoliberal conservation enable capital accumulation by powerful groups through shifts in ownership and access over common land away from communities. The authors of this paper sought to compare wildlife and coastal conservation projects in Tanzania to understand the similarities and differences in the types of dispossessions and accumulation that occur in these two types of ecosystems through conservation programs.
Research goals & methods
The researchers carried out field work from 2007 to 2011 in Sinya village in West Kilimanjaro and Mafia Island Marine Park to understand the creation of enclosures and the dispossession of land and other resources in zones of wildlife and marine conservation. They used interviews, group discussions and mapping along with quantitative ecological approaches and methods to gather information.
Conclusions & takeaways
The authors found that the political economic forces and processes leading to dispossession through community-based conservation are similar in wildlife and marine habitats despite their being located in different ecological and human systems. Conservation can lead to ‘green’ or ‘blue’ grabbing and recent conservation programs have lowered communities’ access to land and other resources. Both wildlife and marine community-based conservation have facilitated a form of primitive accumulation, which is marked by reduced access and ownership over land and other natural resources by previous users along with resource accumulation by some powerful actors like local bureaucrats, international conservation organizations, and tourism companies. Even though primitive accumulation in this context does not lead to the privatization of land, it shifts the benefits derived from common land away from communities to rent seeking officials, international conservation organizations, and tourism companies.
Conservation, green/blue grabbing and accumulation by dispossession in Tanzania. Journal of Peasant Studies. 2012;39(2):335 - 355. doi:10.1080/03066150.2012.667405..
- Department for International Environment and Development Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences