Conservation and Land Grabbing in Tanzania

by Tor A. Benjaminsen, Ian Bryceson, Faustin Maganga, Tonje Refseth

The discussion of global ‘land grabbing’ has mainly focused on large-­?scale land deals and direct foreign investments in food and biofuel production in developing countries. The land grabbing effect of conservation projects is, however, rarely heeded in these debates. In Tanzania, conservation areas have steadily increased since colonial times leading to loss of land and resource access for small-­?scale farmers, pastoralists and fisherfolk. Today, around 40 % of the land area of the country is under some form of environmental protection. This includes more recent areas under so-­?called ‘community-­?based conservation’, which in practice proves to be business-­?as-­?usual in terms of conservation taking 2 priority over local rights and livelihoods. This paper provides examples of how community-­?based conservation in wildlife, forests and coastal areas in Tanzania leads to local people’s loss of access to land and natural resources. The increasing commodification of biodiversity and natural resources driven by the boom in safari tourism as well as new climate mitigation initiatives such as REDD is accelerating this process. The main actors are big international conservation groups, foreign donors, and state agencies focused on recentralizing control over resources in order to capitalize on the increasing land rent.

File: Tor A. Benjaminsen - Ian Bryceson - Faustin Maganga - Tonje Refseth.pdf