New Policy Brief from Copenhagen Centre for Development Research (CCDR)
Policy Brief: The economic and social viability of Tanzanian Wildlife Management Areas
This policy brief contributes to assessing the economic and social viability of Tanzania’s Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) through preliminary findings by the ‘Poverty and ecosystem Impacts of Tanzania’s Wildlife Management Areas’ (PIMA) project, focusing on benefits, costs, and their distribution between State, community and household.
WMAs constitute Tanzania’s national community-based natural resource management programme for wildlife, whereby groups of villages set aside land for wildlife conservation and tourism. Nineteen WMAs currently operate; a planned 38 in all will total 7% of Tanzania’s surface area. The central objectives of the WMA policy are to “increase participation of local communities in management of wildlife resources; enable local communities to derive benefits from wildlife resources; and enhance conservation of wildlife resources” (WWF, 2014).
This note addresses WMAs’ economic and social viability from local communities’ perspective. WMAs promise secure land tenure, revenue and regulated access to/ use of key natural resources. In some cases, WMAs partially deliver these ends. However, most WMAs currently earn little tourism revenue while imposing considerable costs on local people. Many WMAs have generated land-based conflicts (state vs communities; WMAs vs tourist operators; tourist operators vs communities; between and within communities). WMA administration costs match or exceed participating villages’ revenues, and focus mostly on enforcement while failing to mitigate wildlife damage or deliver meaningful benefits.