Land reform and biodiversity conservation in South Africa: Complementary or in conflict?
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This paper aims to improve understanding of the conflicts that have arisen between land reform and conservation, and to encourage better comprehension between the land and conservation sectors. It does this by analysing current experiences in South Africa with regard to land reform in conservation areas, and, through the use of case studies, exploring synergies and tensions which currently exist between these two seemingly disparate objectives. The paper draws heavily on the experiences of those who have been actively involved in the debates, analyses and negotiations concerning land reform in protected areas. This has been done through literature review, an analysis of case studies, and interviews. A major source of information was workshops held by the Department of Land Affairs (DLA), the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), and IUCN (The World Conservation Union)-South Africa, to discuss the matter. The first workshop was held in November 1997 and brought together key people from the land and conservation sectors. Its outcome was to catalyse further workshops and the development of a research project on which earlier drafts of this paper were based. Two further workshops were held in July and August 1998 for the land and conservation sectors respectively, and the fourth in September 1998 for both the land and conservation sectors. Information relating to the #Khomani and Mkambati case studies is based on long-term field research within the claimant communities by two of the authors (Ellis and Kepe respectively).