• Conservation, Neoliberalism, and Human Rights in Kenya’s Arid Lands

Prior efforts to conserve biodiversity in sub-Saharan Africa have resulted in numerous human rights failures. In an attempt to move beyond this troublesome past, new initiatives increasingly consider the participation of local peoples in the conservation and development process. Part of this movement has resulted in the creation of “new” conservation areas carved out of former communal areas, which ostensibly provide better social and economic benefits of wildlife to local people who reside around protected areas. A concurrent shift from communal to individual land tenure has attracted the attention of investors who seek to create private conservation spaces (i.e. conservancies) outside neighboring state management protected areas. These investors invoke neoliberal tenets where privatization and market exchange are presumed to hold the key to the sustainability of people, wildlife, and livestock in a fragile ecosystem. By drawing on a case study from southern Kenya, I demonstrate that such initiatives dispossess people by: 1) relying on coercive tactics on land leasing, and 2) discounting the geographies of indigenous resource use, access, and control. In particular, I highlight how the resource managers fail to adequately consider the varied spatiality and temporality of local livelihood production systems and how the land leasing process is fraught with difficulties. I argue that dispossession leads to the further displacement and marginalization of local people, and hampers the sustainability of people, livestock, and wildlife in dry lands.


neoliberalism, conservancies, development, pastoralism, mobility, dispossession

In the last century and a half, over 105,000 protected areas (PAs), encompassing about 11 percent of the world’s land, with different levels of ‘‘protected’’ area status, have been established on every continent.1 The establishment and operation of these PAs have resulted in numerous human rights abuses.2 Literatures on the relationships between human rights and conservation are rich with theoretical and empirical examples that typify two main waves of conservation over the last fifty years. In this essay I describe how a third but less well-known wave of conservation practices in East Africa is resulting in the continued disenfranchisement of local peoples who reside around PAs. By relying on a case study from southern Kenya and drawing on theoretical insights from people-environment geography, I demonstrate that this type of conservation practice—one that supposedly distances itself from the coercive and violent histories of previous approaches—has continued to dispossess local peoples in new ways and with (un)intended consequences.

Conceptual Approaches

Human Rights and Conservation

Conserving biodiversity is at once a material, ecological, social, spatial, and legal practice.3 Despite this recognition, a key tenet of many conservation practices is that there need to be boundaries that separate biodiversity from human practices deemed responsible for the destruction of biodiversity, irrespective of how those landscapes have been formed.4 Numerous rights violations, stemming from dispossession of land, death, bodily harm, and loss of livelihoods, have taken place to ensure this separation.5

Many scholars of conservation and human rights are concerned with the ethical and moral considerations of these separations.6 For many sociocultural groups, the relationships between identity and land resources span millennia and are inseparable. In other words, nature is part of humanity and nature cannot exist in isolation of humanity. Indigenous peoples, long considered environmental stewards, manage landscapes in ways that embody their daily livelihood practices and future survival.7 Thus, efforts to dislocate people from their ancestral lands has attracted attention from legal practitioners who seek to protect and in some cases reverse rights abuses stemming from land dispossession linked to conservation practices.8 Nonetheless, the protection of human rights and the environment remains elusive because of inadequate and incomplete legal framings.9

But inadequate legal framings are not reason enough to understand why processes [End Page 91] of dispossession continue to occur worldwide around PAs with increasing frequency. In the next section, I discuss how recent conservation approaches, predicated on neoliberal economic policies, have come to be the ‘‘new’’ ways in which conservation can occur sustainably, both socially and ecologically.

Neoliberalism and Conservation

The strong belief that private ownership and market exchange hold the key to the better management of natural resources, a central tenet of neoliberal policy, has led rapidly to the increased commodification of natural resources.10 This has occurred through the enclosure and privatization of formerly communal lands. Theoretically, the modern origins for these explanations stem from the Marxian concept of primitive accumulation. This is where the privatization of once communal resources results in the removal of labor from the traditional conditions of production. David Harvey expands on this concept to argue for ‘‘accumulation by dispossession,’’ where capital accumulation is necessary in order to promote the circulation of capital in neoliberal policy.11

James Fairhead and others expand on Harvey’s work by outlining some of the main neoliberal forces associated with the appropriation, dispossession, and valuation of ‘‘nature.’’12 These interconnected factors are privatization, financialization, the management and manipulation of crises, and state redistributions. First, privatization can occur by delegitimizing claims through legislation or through the ‘‘market’’ whereby ‘‘those who have valuable assets, but are earning incomes too low to permit social reproduction, inevitably have to sell them.’’13 Second, financialization is predicated on the increasing commodification of nature as tradeable assets. This can result in new ontologies of ecology, where the complex ecologies of natural systems are being replaced by those of ‘‘natural capital’’ and ‘‘ecosystem services.’’ This can then be easily configured to enable market transactions. These transactions can be ‘‘dislocated from the materiality of their local geography’’ and reconfigured such that equivalence can be assigned. Third, dispossession can occur through the ‘‘construction and perpetuation of a sense of crisis,’’ convincing investors and local peoples of the need to value natural resources in order to sell them to solve environmental crises.14 Finally, Fairhead et al. note that the state plays an important role in influencing the redistribution of wealth between actors. They note that ‘‘fiscal policies [by the state are] designed to favor investment and, thus, those with the capital to invest, rather than incomes and security for the poor.’’15

However, there are a great many critiques of neoliberalism and the environment. These revolve around the underappreciation and underspecification of market forces and inattention to how neoliberalism dislocates the materiality of local geographies.16 This essay takes this critique as essential to developing a fuller and more accurate diagnosis of conservation-related dispossession by asking ‘‘how the realm of the environment matters for neoliberalism,’’ within the context of conservation and human rights.17

Social Constructionism, Materiality and Human-Animal Agency

As is true for much work on conservation, human rights, and neoliberalism, there is a need for specific place-based histories rooted in the political economy of [End Page 92] production that influence the trajectory and practices by which dispossession occurs. Place-based work has long been a tradition with geography.18 Ongoing work in people-environment geography engages with place-based work with the changing materiality of the landscape and the agency of animals—so central to arid lands where people, livestock, and wildlife are sympatric—to unveil the power gradients and dynamics among local groups, private investors, and the state.19 These approaches have the potential to address some of the shortcomings associated within the nexus of conservation, neoliberalism, and human rights.

Incorporating nonhuman agency to better understand environment and development problems is not a new in geography.20 More fully incorporating the agency of individual animals such as cattle, impala, and elephants whose ecologies (movements, competitive relationships, and symbioses) is important for accurately diagnosing the processes of dispossession associated with the interests of the state and private institutions that seek to create value from nature.21

By embracing landscape materiality and nonhuman agency, we are better able to understand historical and contemporary transformations within the rooted and rapidly changing lived experiences of people and their relationship with the environment.22 Similarly, arguments about the social construction of nature and the implications of the dichotomy between nature and culture have a profound role to play in better understanding the dispossession of local peoples.23 They help focus on the spectacle of the touristic safari into nature that is premised on the separation between local peoples and wildlife.24 However, these arguments need first to be put into regional, historical, and place-based contexts in order to better understand how emergent processes come to unfold in relation to changing political, economic and environmental circumstances.25

Conservation in East Africa (1940 to 2000)

The first wave of conservation activities in East Africa occurred in the late colonial and early independence eras (1940 to 1970), when the state adopted a ‘‘fortress’’ approach to conservation.26 In this model, PAs were created by expelling indigenous peoples from their culturally produced landscapes.27 Monetary fines, along with physical and legislative punishments, were levied on ‘‘transgressors’’ who encroached on PAs, because the state considered their indigenous ways to be destructive to the environment.28 Colonial scientific ideas suggested that pastoralists and their livestock residing within and around wildlife-rich areas were responsible for ‘‘poaching,’’ ‘‘overgrazing,’’ and ‘‘degradation,’’ which resulted in the decline of wildlife and threatened the state’s ability to generate revenue from tourism.29

The state, newly armed with conservation monies earned through the rhetorical appropriation of international conservation efforts, sought to redress the situation by investing heavily in militarizing PAs.30 States established antipoaching and ranger patrols and formed a military hierarchy of command and control. There was little judicial oversight, and ‘‘shoot-to-kill’’ orders were evoked in order to ensure the protection of biodiversity.31 However, the wrongful attribution of local peoples as poachers and the associated ‘‘shoot-to-kill’’ directives were not the only ‘‘person-to-person’’ types of right abuses connected with conservation practices at the time. There [End Page 93] are numerous accounts of harassment, beatings, rapes, assaults, and killings by conservation and/or government officials.32 Roderick Neumann points out that violent abuses have also occurred through displacement—through the loss of rights to access land, the removal or destruction of homes and livestock, increased vulnerability to natural hazards, and through the greater exposure of local people to wildlife, drought, and disease.33

A half-century later, this coercive approach to conservation failed to reverse the trend of decreasing wildlife populations.34 Scholars noted that the fortress approach relied on forcibly convincing local people of the value associated with conserving biodiversity, while at the same time dispossessing local peoples of access to resources critical for their livelihood, which did little to blunt ongoing human rights abuses.35 Throughout this period, economic and social development was largely seen as external to conservation practices. The alternative approach, which led to the second wave of conservation practices, was to link local communities and development practices more directly to conservation efforts.36

In the late 1980s this new wave, known as Integrated Conservation and Development Programs (ICDPs), sought to encourage a kinder, gentler, and friendlier approach compared to the more coercive approaches of the past.37 Motivated by trends toward the decentralization of resource management practices, a key component of this second wave of conservation was that state institutions responsible for wildlife management devolved power to local institutions. One popular example by which this happened was through the establishment of community ‘‘buffer zones’’ around PAs.38 This approach envisioned that if offered financial incentives through formal employment in the tourism industry, local people living around PAs would more directly benefit from wildlife conservation and would help preserve biodiversity.

Across sub-Saharan Africa, this relatively simple paradigm led to a rapid increase in the number of ICDPs, although empirical evidence suggests that their accomplishments were ‘‘fleeting and fragile.’’39 ICDP failures owed to institutions’ inability to recognize the complex realities of integrating conservation with development. Conservation meant the preservation of core areas, while development was synonymous with poverty eradication.40 Scholars argued that, contrary to these expectations, buffer zones in fact constituted an expansion of state authority in remote rural areas—a move met with suspicion and resistance on the part of many residents whom the state had long seen as marginal and unimportant.41

Despite the trend toward decentralization as a way to increase institutional efficiency and achieve conservation and development goals, many states instead limited the kinds of transferred powers and constructed institutions that served and answered to central interests.42 Changes in land tenure policies, such as the shift from communal to individual tenure, succeeded in eliminating the mobility needs of pastoralists around PAs in dry lands and changed the quality and quantity of forage.43 This made pastoralists more vulnerable to changes in climate and politics and led to the increased use of PAs as drought-coping areas.44 These ‘‘incursions’’ also resulted in a return to the fortress conservation model and evictions by state authorities that still occur with remarkable frequency across sub-Saharan Africa.45 [End Page 94]

In this essay I map the genealogy of a third wave of conservation. This conservation era entails the deployment of neoliberal policies in the management of conservation lands. Drawing on a case study from southern Kenya, I argue that these policies increase dispossession through a sustained and purposeful separation of nature and culture and are framed around a false fetishization of the dialectical relationships between people and the environment. I demonstrate that the complex histories and geographies of pastoral resource use, access, and control are rendered invisible by those who omit the varied spatiality and temporality of pastoral livestock movements through these policies. I further argue that dispossession occurs through coercive tactics employed by conservation organizations in order to secure land needed for wildlife conservation. On the basis of these contentions, I pose two questions: first, in what ways do changes in the governance of natural resources drive present-day processes of dispossession among local peoples who reside around PAs? Second, how do the agency, materiality, and visibility of livelihoods, animals, and landscape influence these processes?

Evidence from Southern Kenya

The case study I present here is from southern Kenya (fig. 1), where two main land use types exist around the Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR): public conservation spaces managed by the state and private conservancies, and mobile livestock husbandry practiced by Maasai pastoralists. There is widespread evidence to suggest that pastoral livelihood practices actually produced the landscapes that became PAs prior to the first and second waves of conservation in East Africa.46 If one were to assign an arbitrary starting point for processes of dispossession and historically contextualize displacement within local places, it would be the creation and dismantling of traditional communal property institutions—beginning with the creation of native reserves, then moving from reserves to collectivized management starting in the early 1900s.47

Prior to colonization in East Africa in the late nineteenth century, pastoralists and their livestock moved across wide areas to take advantage of ecological heterogeneity in rangeland resources.48 This livelihood strategy is best characterized as a robust socioecological system.49 At the onset of colonialism in the early twentieth century, native reserves were established to control native populations and limit the movement of pastoralists and their livestock in order to reduce the spread of zoonotic diseases between local and exotic imported breeds.50 As a result, livestock and human populations increased within smaller areas. At the same time, the Maasai lost more land when PAs were created in the mid-1940s to generate revenue for the state through wildlife-viewing fees, resulting in changes in land cover and lowering the resilience of the ecosystem.51

To confront the environmental problems provoked by the creation of the native reserves, and in the belief that the Maasai were poor land managers, administrators worked to change the property rights of pastoralists. In 1968 the Land (Group Representatives) Act was passed, establishing rules for the management of communal land that the Maasai had traditionally used.52 The law sought to provide ‘‘tenure security creating incentives for the Maasai to invest in range improvement, sell livestock and [End Page 95] ultimately reduce the tendency to over accumulate livestock.’’53 Formalization of communal tenure, it was thought, would enable group ranch members to leverage credit needed for making infrastructural improvements to livestock production practices, such as building of boreholes, crossbreeding livestock varieties, and selling to meat-marketing agencies.54 The management of group ranches was based on a Western model ‘‘comprised of a chair, vice chair, secretary treasurer and three other members,’’ which was voted on by a public ballot.55 Not only was this institutionalization an alien concept that misunderstood the sociospatial scales of organization that governed Maasai livelihood strategies, and did not adequately consider the socioecological variability that characterized many of the arid and semi-arid land in which group ranches were formed; it also privileged the elite who were formally educated and politically connected.56

Figure 1. The study area lies within the greater Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem and encompasses the former Koyake Group Ranch.
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Figure 1.

The study area lies within the greater Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem and encompasses the former Koyake Group Ranch.

At the same time that property rights were changing in southern Kenya, there was a similar trend with respect to PA establishment. In 1948, a small area known as the Mara Game Reserve (MGR) was carved out of the Maasai Reserve North, one of the native reserves where Maasai pastoralists were confined.57 The area was selected as a PA because of the high density and distribution of wildlife. Prior to the establishment of the MGR, the area was a favored hunting ground for colonial administrators and white settlers. In 1961, the boundaries of the reserve were extended and it was renamed the Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR). Hotels, lodges, and camping grounds were established to attract tourism money. Some Maasai pastoralists were forcefully evicted from areas deemed to be inside the MMNR, and livestock grazing practices, [End Page 96] which had regularly occurred throughout the ecosystem, were curtailed. Fines and other punishments were levied on pastoralists for transgressions into the MMNR.58

Under the rules of establishment, the MMNR was formed as a locally managed PA under the control of the Narok County Council (NCC)—a local government administration system—and with the support of the World Bank.59 This system of management differed from more centralized approaches in other PAs. It was thought that a devolved system of authority could more easily disburse the benefits accrued from wildlife tourism directly to local peoples.60 Approximately 19 percent of the revenue is redistributed to the community through elected councilors of the different wards that compose the NCC.61 In 1984, the borders of the MMNR were excised to allow Maasai pastoralists who resided around the borders access to perennial rivers during droughts. Since then, there has been a rapid rise in the livestock and human populations of the region, in tourism visitation, and the number of camps and lodges located immediately around the MMNR.62 In 2003, there were some seventy-two tourist camps and lodges and thirteen airstrips.63 There is uniform agreement among residents that 19 percent of the revenue distributed to the community through their respective councilors almost never reaches its intended recipients, largely owing to rampant local corruption and little oversight by the NCC or the national government.64 Local residents therefore never fully realize the benefits associated with conservation.

Many scholars agree that the group ranch concept failed to meet its intended objectives.65 Mismanagement, corruption, and inattention to socioecological variability all contributed to the collapse of communal tenure. Group ranch members subsequently voted to subdivide communal tenure into individualized parcels in the early 2000s. Security of tenure was the overwhelming reason for individual titling. Many landowners argued that they could receive tourism benefits more directly if they were able to bypass corrupt group ranch officials. Each registered group ranch member was eligible to receive an equal share of the communal holding, although its division was often necessarily inequitable given the variability of the landscape. Elite members of the ranch allocated themselves parcels, often close to rivers or shady areas, that would attract the attention of private investors seeking to build luxury tented camps and lodges.66

In instances where group ranches border large PAs, as in the case of the former Koyake Group Ranch (KGR) that lies along the northern border of the MMNR, the sudden ‘‘availability’’ of land, which could be used to expand tourism and conservation ventures. This led to intense interest from conservation trusts and private tourism operators, in conjunction with international and local conservation organizations, to both enhance conservation and generate revenue for investors. In 2002, the KGR (fig. 1) was demarcated for subdivision and each member became eligible to gain individual title to approximately 150 acres.67 By 2004, there were an estimated 1,200 individuals who had received legal title to their subdivided land contained within blocks 1 and 2 of the former KGR and a further 800 individuals were issued with private title deeds in blocks 3 and 4. During this period, livestock contributed approximately 70 percent of the household income for the Maasai pastoralists around a small [End Page 97] trading center at the edge of the MMNR, while the remainder came from tourism and wildlife activities.68 There are significant variations within these proportions because some parcels of land have better wildlife-viewing circuits and prime locations for luxury tented camps, which garner higher economic returns.69

The subdivision of the KGR was greeted with quiet enthusiasm, if uncertainty, on the part of landowners, tourism operators, and conservation organizations. In early 2005, three private safari operators joined together to establish a private community conservancy carved out of this recently privatized land.70 The political-economic constitution of the conservancy has four different parts.

First, the conservancy is made up of a private limited liability company, which operates as the management company responsible for the day-to-day operations of the conservancy. The company employs a dedicated staff of rangers, managers, assistant managers, and several field scouts stationed throughout the 23,000-acre conservancy. Rangers are often trained at the Kenya Wildlife Services’ Field School and rely on military structures of command and control.

Second, each of these three companies operates a luxury tented camp within the conservancy. These camps have limited bed-night capacities, providing a more personalized ‘‘safari’’ within the confines of the conservancy. Moreover, these operations provide an alternative to the mass safari tourism that is common inside the MMNR. Safaris vehicles are often open-top, allowing for better wildlife-viewing experiences with local tour drivers who are knowledgeable about the locations of the ‘‘Big Five’’ safari animals (elephant, rhinoceros, lion, leopard, and African buffalo). The small camp size and limited numbers of vehicles allows for a smaller environmental footprint. The cost of these camps varies by season and typically ranges from $300 to $1,000 per person per night. The conservancy charges the camps a set fee of $25 for each bed-night in the camps, with the proceeds going directly to support community development projects, while an additional $60 is charged per head per night as a conservancy fee billed to the management company.

Third, a conservation trust unit acts as the philanthropic and development arm of the conservancy. The trust manages projects through donations funded by wealthy patrons, or through the $25 per night bed fee. Most of this money goes toward purchasing vehicles and equipment needed by rangers and the management company, as well as infrastructure development project meant to help the landowners. This development strategy has taken different forms: (1) hay-bailing projects, in which grasses are artificially mowed after the wet season, stored, and distributed to the community in the event of drought; (2) water development projects, in which water pumps and holding tanks are installed in areas further from the river so that landowners and others do not need to spend significant amounts of time fetching water, and; (3) infrastructural improvements to community schools by building new classrooms or providing resources for teachers.

Finally, there is a land-holding company through which Maasai landowners lease their individual parcels in exchange for a fixed monthly payment. The land-holding company is a joint enterprise between the management company and the private safari operators. By May 2006, the conservancy leased several thousand acres of land from hundreds of landowners. Approximately 90 percent of the landowners agreed to lease [End Page 98] 150 acres of land each for a period of 15 years in exchange for a monthly payment of 19,000 shillings (U.S. $231.70). The remainder of the landowners leased the same amount of land for a period of 5 years, with a monthly lease payment of 16,500 shillings (U.S. $201.20). The process of leasing was a complicated affair with a great deal of initial mistrust between landowners and conservancy managers, although according to the conservancy website, this process was as ‘‘easy as 1–2–3.’’ ‘‘One, wildlife safari operators rent land from 277 Maasai landowners on a monthly basis. Two, Maasai pastoralists have reduced livestock herd sizes in core conservation areas. Three, the conservancy is now a haven for big cats, is part of the annual migration, and offers year-round prime wildlife viewing.’’71

These three points demonstrate the overall aims and goals of the conservancy, foremost of which is the need to generate surplus revenue from wildlife-viewing fees and private luxury-tented camps and to reduce livestock grazing impacts on wildlife. However, in order to make this plan successful, conservancies need vast amounts of land from which to attract wildlife and conduct safaris. The safari model championed by conservancies goes beyond conventional cliché safaris, offering an exclusive experience in which visitors do not have to view wildlife within the same spaces as the mass of tourists who frequent the neighboring park. This exclusivity is achieved by having fewer luxury-tented camps, attracting higher-paying visitors, offering custom-designed safaris, and reducing the number of vehicles allowed into the conservancies. Conservancies also often term themselves ‘‘buffer zones’’ to justify their operations as they lie between core PAs (the MMNR) and expanding wheat and other agricultural cultivation occurring to the north.72

Processes of Dispossession to Create Conservancies

Dispossession, as it relates to the application of neoliberal economic and environmental principles outlined earlier, occurs in the context of conservancy creation and operation in two main ways: first, through coercive methods associated with the land-leasing process; second, by selectively choosing which animal geographies become visible. The latter renders pastoral livelihoods invisible by limiting livestock production practices inside conservancies. In this section I describe these two interrelated processes, relying on empirical evidence gained through extensive key informant interviews with conservancy actors as well as local pastoralists between 2005 and 2013.

Dispossession through Displacement and Coercive Land Leasing

Even before the subdivision of the former KGR was complete, and as residents witnessed the complete subdivision of a neighboring group ranch in 1999, local elites, along with tour operators and camp owners, initiated a series of meetings with community members to argue for the continued need to preserve wildlife on community lands and to provide sources of income for pastoralists beyond livestock production.73 As surveyors demarcated the soon to be subdivided KGR, several of these local elites manipulated the entitlement process in order to gain access to the best plots of land for themselves and their immediate families. In the desire to expand the tourist economy in and around the MMNR, and given a moratorium against the building of new lodges and hotels inside the protected area, investors capitalized on [End Page 99] the need to have new landowners lease their land to the conservancy using the model outlined above.74

The advent of the conservancy originated from a respected elder within the community. He proposed that a conservancy should be established with the twin goals of preserving wildlife and generating revenue for the local community—doing so would result in both community empowerment and regular payments. The need for a stable income was a priority given that Kenya’s highly volatile political climate often resulted in variable tourist arrivals. In collaboration with Maasai pastoralists and a group of private investors, the conservancy would offer fixed and regular payments that would serve as a buffer to reduce the highly intra- and interseasonality of tourist arrivals. Payments were devised around the returns per hectare per year based on whether the land was converted to agriculture or livestock production.

Two key personnel, one who had experience establishing a conservancy in a different part of the Kenya, and the other who was a former owner of a luxury tourist camp already inside the MMNR, provided support for such an initiative. Additionally, well-educated community members served as liaisons between illiterate community members and investors. These people spent the next six months visiting community members and convincing them of the need to sign the leases, using two major talking points: the regularized payments and an independent body responsible for distributing the payments. The decision to prioritize the latter was a way of convincing landowners that they would not be encumbered by the corruption of finances that characterized the disbursements of the 19 percent of park revenue by the NCC. Nonetheless, these actors sought to visit almost every single household and allocated land parcel that the conservancy had hoped to encompass. During these meetings community members raised three main concerns associated with establishment of the conservancy: (1) the length of the lease (fifteen years); (2) the payments for the lease (approximately $1.50 per acre per month); (3) the difficulties associated with completely moving their households (bomas) and livestock production practices out of the conservancy (as part of the agreement involved ensuring that all livestock was moved out of the conservancy).

The length of the lease period was the subject of intense discussion among landowners. ‘‘Fifteen years is too long,’’ exclaimed one younger and more proactive member of the community. He became disillusioned with the leasing process after he witnessed the first phase, when leases were signed by a handful of people for eighteen months (May 2006 to December 2007). This lease period returned a lower payment than the next agreement (1,500 shillings vs. 2,000 shillings per hectare), but it was not the payment differential but the way in which the leasing was conducted that was problematic. He recounted that the first lease payment was done in the open (under a tree in front of many onlookers) and many community members saw this as coercive because the conservancy management brought $20,000 in cash and distributed the money in front of everyone. The conservancy management said this was meant to be a transparent process where landowners ‘‘could witness the distribution process with their own eyes.’’ However, many members who had not signed on to the lease agreement saw this is as a way to inveigle others; as one respondent put it: ‘‘[We] were shown a lot of money and signed the agreement to lease [the] land.’’ This period came immediately after the worst drought in twenty-five years, which resulted in [End Page 100] community members losing several livestock. Additionally, in the next three months (February 2008) the number of visitors dropped dramatically following political violence resulting from the contested presidential election. As tourist arrivals decreased conservancy managers used this occasion to persuade landowners of the power of the funding model, which would ensure that payments would come to them even in years of economic hardship.

Other community members recounted that the conservancy management brought people who had already signed the lease to those who had not and used the former to convince the latter of the efficacy of the program. They often repeated the conservancy’s pitch: ‘‘It is better that you get 2,000 shillings per hectare rather than nothing that you get currently . . . think of what you could do with the money . . . buy food for the house, send the children to school, and buy land in a new place.’’

At the end of the second leasing period, which lasted five years, ten landowners decided not to renew their leases. They argued that the funding model was less than adequate and that the Maasai could easily earn more than 2,000 shillings per hectare per year by relying on livestock production alone.75 These individuals, termed ‘‘rebels’’ by the conservancy managers and landowners, invoked livestock-specific references to suggest that ‘‘owners of conservancies are cutting the udders of landowners.’’ Given the critical importance of cattle to the Maasai, these references demonstrate anger and frustrations toward the conservancy. The landowners also argued that lodge owners were making the most money from the idea of the conservancy. One person who had already signed the lease remarked, ‘‘They [lodge owners] are making [so] much money compared to what they are giving us . . . it is like they are cheating us.’’

Conservancy managers needed more landowners to sign the leases because their conservation and tourism model was predicated on an exclusive safari experience in a private conservation space where tourists did not have to see other tourists or tour vehicles. The spatial contiguity of leasing land parcels was crucial to this, as tourist vehicles needed to move unimpeded throughout the conservancy area. However, for landowners who had not signed the lease agreements, this was considered detrimental to livestock production practices, as they would essentially be trespassing on conservancy areas and fined 10,000 shillings (approximately $150) if they needed to access forage or water from nearby streams.

Landowners also had problems with the relocation of their bomas from the conservancy. While some landowners had access to land outside the conservancy, many did not and moved to areas where they had family connections. These displacements led to a situation in which many landowners leased their only viable pieces of land to the conservancy. Many of these bomas were less wealthy and less able to diversify their income beyond livestock production practices. Conservancy managers repeatedly said that these landowners should ‘‘open their eyes’’ to the fact that they could no longer rely solely on livestock for the livelihoods.76 In order to further convince these landowners, the conservancy arranged for transport for those families who did not have the means to move their household out of the area. The net result of these displacements was that many bomas ended up squatting on parcels of land near the park gate and regularly grazed their livestock inside the MMNR, where they were more likely [End Page 101] to be caught and fined. Consequently, many landowners became even more susceptible to droughts and floods and the increased enforcement of the MMNR by park rangers during peak tourist seasons (June to September, which is also the dry season), when tourists were more likely to complain about seeing cattle inside the MMNR.

Selectively Choosing Which Animal Geographies Become Visible

Discussions between conservancy managers and landowners suggested that one of the necessary preconditions for the lease agreements was that landowners must agree to limit their grazing and, in most cases, stop grazing their livestock altogether inside the conservancy. Their rationale was that tourists were drawn to see the big cats (leopard, lion, and cheetah) and that the presence of livestock would alter the behavioral ecology of the cats and lead to livestock depredation. Tourists, they argued, would not want to travel here to see ‘‘a bunch of skinny cows grazing.’’

As herd sizes and human population increased throughout the late twentieth century, traditional Maasai grazing patterns rotated around areas that would eventually become the conservancy during the wet and dry seasons, and into the MMNR during the dry and drought periods.77 Herding labor and the quality and quantity of forage (as several key resource areas are found in the conservancy) were strong concerns for community members. Many bomas preferred grazing locations within the conservancy, as younger and less knowledgeable herders could manage their livestock together without the fear of being beaten and abused by park rangers, as was the case if they were caught grazing inside the MMNR.78 Older and more experienced herders were instead drafted into other wage-earning activities. Research has shown that livestock grazing occurs regularly inside this space, and that bomas with greater wealth and larger herd sizes are more likely to enter the MMNR than smaller and less wealthy bomas, because the former are more able to pay the fine of 10,000 shillings per herd.79 Additionally, since the MMNR was carved out of traditional Maasai grazing lands, these areas have a high quality of forage and water (which is why they are places where wildlife congregate).

The drivers of environmental conflicts in the MMNR have been noted elsewhere, but generally park rangers embark on spatially and temporally patterned enforcement of livestock grazing inside the MMNR.80 This patterning reflects a deep nature-culture dichotomy, manifested in tourists complaining to the park authorities whenever they see cattle grazing inside the PA. Rangers view livestock grazing as a threat to the conservation of biodiversity and invoke ecological concepts such as ‘‘competition’’ to argue that the presence of livestock inside PAs is ‘‘unnatural.’’81

This narrative is persistent even with respect to the conservancy, and the conservancy model makes no radical departure from the fortress conservation model. During the early lease periods, conservancy managers frequently caught livestock grazing inside the conservancy and fined herd managers an amount that was similar to that levied by the MMNR against transgressors. One conservancy manager proudly exclaimed that they might have ‘‘perfected how to catch’’ the herd managers, despite herders fleeing whenever a conservancy ranger vehicle on patrol approached the herd. Even if the livestock were caught at night (night grazing was common because of less enforcement), managers applied luminous paint to the herd and went to the bomas [End Page 102] with an ultraviolet light to find the ‘‘perpetrators’’ the next day. Landowners were quick to criticize this tactic, arguing that the conservancy and the MMNR were alike in the forms and tactics they used to apprehend cattle and herders. Many landowners alleged that the conservancy was essentially becoming a private national park and the only difference between it and the national reserve was the regular payments.

Many landowners noted that the conservancy managers do not have acute knowledge of the livestock production practices of pastoralists, despite the involvement of elite Maasai in forming the conservancy. Hence, conservancy management ignores the spatiotemporal variability of grazing resources necessary for livestock production and favors instead the location of charismatic mega-fauna (particularly big cats). One official stated that he had recently commissioned a conservation group working on lions to identify the spatial locations of the cats, in addition to the number and composition of the pride. Tourists are encouraged to contribute to a library of big cat sightings by reporting their own observations while on safari.82 Field scouts actively monitor these prides and frequently report any changes to the conservancy manager, via cell phones and radio. But these same field scouts come from bomas that have been asked to move out of the conservancy. They too are knowledgeable about the key grazing resource areas for livestock and are also herders who manage their cattle during their days off from the conservancy. Interestingly, conservancy officials seldom ask them why cattle are grazing inside the conservancy.

During the wet season (between March and May), some landowners are permitted into the conservancy in order to shorten the tall grass, which is beneficial to wildlife by creating grazing lawns that are more nutritious than taller grasses.83 Conservancy managers are quick to note that this process ecologically rests on the facilitation between wildlife and livestock. However, it is also abundantly clear that permitting livestock into the conservancy is economically, politically, and aesthetically contextualized against the minimal presence of tourists within the ecosystem during this time (the low tourism season).84 Many of the areas in which bomas were located quickly become nutrient hotspots (from the accumulation of dung within the former livestock enclosures) and several wildlife species congregate around these areas.85 However, conservancy managers fail to recognize the role that local production practices play in establishing the ecological functioning of the landscapes under which wildlife thrives.

Discussion and Concluding Thoughts

I have posed two questions toward a better understanding of the ways in which neoliberal economic and environmental processes influence the dispossession of people who reside around PAs. By paying attention to the power relationships among actors, institutions, the changing materiality of the cultural landscape, and the agency of animals, this essay demonstrates how dispossession occurs in two ways: (1) through coercive land leasing and displacement, and (2) selectively choosing which animal geographies become visible.

Much of the literature on neoliberalism, conservation, and dispossession has argued that capital accumulation is necessary for the functioning of PAs through tourism ventures.86 These activities are predicated on the separation between nature [End Page 103] and culture and are effected through the dispossession of local peoples and their livestock from recently acquired land. These forms, tactics, and repertoires of dispossession remain both coercive and violent, much like the first two waves of conservation practices in East Africa.

Conventional analyses of neoliberalism and conservation suggest that dispossession works: (1) through privatization that rests on the need to accumulate resources through the ‘‘market’’; and (2) by perpetuating a sense of [livelihood] crisis.87 In the case of the former, the ‘‘sale’’ is the leasing process, which imparts a political-economic structure that is alien to most landowners. This complex legal and political constitution makes it difficult for locals to enhance the process of transparency.

In the case of the latter, conservancies leverage the need for land to gain surplus value by insisting that crises in tourism will continue and that the regularized payments offered by the conservancies is the logical way to overcome this problem. These ideas are used to justify the operation of the conservancy in light of the flaws in the MMNR’s practice of granting landowners 19 percent of revenues. Conservancy managers rely on these coercive tactics to ensure that landowners are drawn into the leasing process, without which the conservancy would not function. This process is necessarily reliant on local elites and broadens the divisions between elites and other landowners. In this way, dispossession is socially unequal, most affecting those with limited resources.

Moving beyond conventional analyses, the incorporation of landscape materiality allows for greater and more accurate diagnoses of dispossession. Like Neumann, who has argued that displacement of peoples around PAs leads to increased vulnerability to natural hazards, I demonstrate that, owing to changes in climate and the politics of land management, livestock graze more regularly inside the MMNR than the conservancy not only because of the regular financial rewards provided through the leasing process compared with the ad hoc disbursement of funds by the MMNR but also because the MMNR contains some of the best grazing lands.88 The practice of grazing inside the MMNR has transitioned from a drought-only practice to a year-round one. This concentrates grazing in distinct areas within the PA and negatively affects the sustainability of wildlife and livestock in dry lands.89 With the creation of the conservancy and the effects of climate change, herd management has changed, resulting in deeper movements inside the MMNR.90

Conservancies replicate the tactics of resource control in ways that are similar to those used by state-mandated PAs, but the key mitigating factor remains that of the regularized payments for land leases.91 This essentially means that the militarization of PAs continues, but instead of state-managed militarization, the conservancy expands the tactics and control of the state into new conservation spaces. Nonetheless, herd managers are constantly confronted with the threat of large fines if they are caught grazing in either of the two PAs.92 Changes in herd management and livelihood production systems stem from the long history of political economic changes in the region, which began with the control of indigenous movements into native reserves and, at least for now, has ended with the creation of conservancies.

All of these changes have resulted in fewer grazing areas, less ecosystem resilience, and limited mobility for people and livestock, which is necessary for coping with [End Page 104] climatic and environmental uncertainty in dry lands. This is ironic given that pastoralism is a livelihood system that is both potentially compatible with wildlife conservation and one of the most sustainable livelihood systems in dry land environments.93 Conservancy managers fail to adequately consider these issues and instead propagate Western constructions of wilderness that are devoid of people and livestock. The statement by the conservancy that landowners had ‘‘reduced livestock herd sizes in core conservation areas’’ misleads readers and potential tourists to the conservancy. Herd sizes have not been reduced; they have been moved to areas that are further away from the conservancy, rendering pastoral livelihoods invisible to tourists.

Additionally, by incorporating the agency of wildlife species and livestock into an analysis of dispossession, we are able to see that conservancy managers selectively deploy where, when, and which animals are made visible and to whom. Thus, a careful manipulation essentially makes dispossession and livestock production practices invisible while ensuring that the conservation of charismatic mega-fauna is highly visible to tourists. These practices have led to habitat modification, such that the conservancy makes itself conducive to big cats and appears to be a major conservation and development success story.

I have demonstrated that despite a third wave of conservation practices, one that supposedly distances itself from previous efforts, conservancies introduce no fundamental differences. Conservancies legitimate the appropriation of nature by offering financial incentives to the poor, producing wildlife landscapes at the expensive of existing landscapes of livestock production and perpetuating a narrative of crisis. These processes differentially expose pastoralists to increased vulnerability to changes in climate, politics, and institutions. Displacement from recently acquired land leads to conditions in which pastoralists rely more strongly on grazing inside state management PAs in order to protect lease arrangements with conservancies. However, by deliberately rendering the geographies of pastoral livestock production invisible at the same time as embracing the geographies and ecologies of big cats, conservancies work to present a conceptualization of nature and wilderness as separate from both people and livestock.

I have shown here that we can better understand dispossession-related rights abuses around PAs by relying on new and emerging concepts from critical people-environmental geography, notably landscape materiality and animal agency. These approaches move beyond existing understandings of the connections among neoliberalism, the environment, and human rights. By more seriously questioning how changing material properties of the environment influence processes of neoliberalism, we are able to more accurately understand how human rights abuses related to conservation are sustained.

Bilal Butt

Bilal Butt is an assistant professor of natural resources and environment and a faculty affiliate of the African Studies Center at the University of Michigan. He is a peopleenvironment geographer with regional specialization in sub-Saharan Africa and technical expertise in geospatial technologies. His general research interests, which lie at the intersection of the natural and social sciences, track questions of how people and wildlife are coping with and adapting to changing climates, livelihoods, and ecologies in arid regions of sub-Saharan Africa. His current projects investigate the spatiality of livelihood strategies among pastoral peoples under regimes of increasing climatic variability and uncertainty.


1. International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), ‘‘Protected Areas Categories System,’’ accessed December 2, 2014, http://www.iucn.org/about/work/programmes/gpap_home/gpap_quality/gpap_pacategories/; Paige West et al., ‘‘Parks and Peoples: The Social Impact of Protected Areas,’’ Annual Review of Anthropology 35 (October 2006): 251–77.

2. Nancy Lee Peluso, ‘‘Coercing Conservation: The Politics of State Resource Control,’’ [End Page 105] Global Environmental Change 3, no. 2 (June 1993): 199–217; Daniel Brockington and James Igoe, ‘‘Eviction for Conservation: A Global Overview,’’ Conservation and Society 4, no. 3 (September 2006): 424–70.

3. Craig R. Groves et al., ‘‘Planning for Biodiversity Conservation: Putting Conservation Science into Practice,’’ BioScience 52, no. 6 (June 2002): 499–512.

4. Roderick Neumann, Imposing Wilderness: Struggles over Livelihood and Nature Preservation in Africa (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998); Daniel Brockington, Fortress Conservation: The Preservation of the Mkomazi Game Reserve, Tanzania (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 2002).

5. Brockington, Fortress Conservation, 12; Brockington and Igoe, ‘‘Eviction for Conservation,’’ 425; Roderick Neumann, ‘‘Primitive Ideas: Protected Area Buffer Zones and the Politics of Land in Africa,’’ Development and Change 28, no. 3 (July 1997): 559–82.

6. Francis O. Adeola, ‘‘Cross-National Environmental Injustice and Human Rights Issues a Review of Evidence in the Developing World,’’ American Behavioral Scientist 43, no. 4 (2000): 686–706; Richard P. Hiskes, ‘‘Environmental Human Rights,’’ in Handbook of Human Rights, ed. Thomas Cushman (New York: Routledge, 2012), 399–409; Neil A. F. Popovic, ‘‘In Pursuit of Environmental Human Rights: Commentary on the Draft Declaration of Principles on Human Rights and the Environment,’’ Columbia Human Rights Law Review 27 (Spring 1996): 487–604.

7. Jan Bender Shetler, Imagining Serengeti: A History of Landscape Memory in Tanzania from Earliest Times to the Present (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007); Brockington, Fortress Conservation, 12; Roderick Neumann, ‘‘Disciplining Peasants in Tanzania: From State Violence to State Surveillance in Tanzania,’’ in Violent Environments, ed. Nancy Lee Peluso and Michael Watts (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2001), 305–27.

8. Thembela Kepe, ‘‘Land Restitution and Biodiversity Conservation in South Africa: The Case of Mkambati, Eastern Cape Province,’’ Canadian Journal of African Studies 38, no. 3 (2004): 688–704; Marcus Colchester, ‘‘Conservation Policy and Indigenous Peoples,’’ Environmental Science & Policy 7, no. 3 (June 2004): 145–153.

9. Hiskes, ‘‘Environmental Human Rights,’’ 400.

10. Nik Heynen et al., eds., Neoliberal Environments: False Promises and Unnatural Consequences (New York: Routledge, 2007).

11. David Harvey, ‘‘Neoliberalism as Creative Destruction,’’ Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 610, no. 1 (March 2007): 21–44; David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005); David Harvey, Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development (New York: Verso, 2006).

12. James Fairhead et al., ‘‘Green Grabbing: A New Appropriation of Nature?,’’ Journal of Peasant Studies 39, no. 2 (April 2012): 237–61.

13. Ibid., 243.

14. Ibid., 244.

15. Ibid., 245.

16. Noel Castree, ‘‘From Neoliberalism to Neoliberalisation: Consolations, Confusions, and Necessary Illusions,’’ Environment and Planning A 38, no. 1 (January 2006): 5; Noel Castree, ‘‘Neoliberalising Nature: The Logics of Deregulation and Reregulation,’’ Environment and Planning A 40, no. 1 (January 2008): 142.

17. Leila Harris, ‘‘A Review of ‘‘Neoliberal Environments: False Promises and Unnatural Consequences,’’ Annals of the Association of American Geographers 99, no. 1 (2009): 210; see also [End Page 106] Karen Bakker, ‘‘The Limits of ‘Neoliberal Natures’: Debating Green Neoliberalism,’’ Progress in Human Geography 34, no. 6 (December 2010): 715–35; Robert Fletcher, ‘‘Neoliberal Environmentality: Towards a Poststructuralist Political Ecology of the Conservation Debate,’’ Conservation and Society 8, no. 3 (2010): 171–81; Matthew Huber, ‘‘Refined Politics: Petroleum Products, Neoliberalism, and the Ecology of Entrepreneurial Life,’’ Journal of American Studies 46, no. 2 (May 2012): 295–312.

18. Yifu Tuan, Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1977).

19. Paul Robbins, Political Ecology, 2nd ed. (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 176–81.

20. Michael Watts, ‘‘Petro-Violence: Community, Extraction, Political Ecology of a Mythic Commodity,’’ in Violent Environments, ed. Nancy Lee Peluso and Michael Watts (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2001), 202–6; Karen Bakker and Gavin Bridge, ‘‘Material Worlds? Resource Geographies and the ‘Matter of Nature,’ ’’ Progress in Human Geography 30, no. 1 (February 2006): 7–11.

21. Michel Callon, ‘‘Some Elements of a Sociology of Translation: Domestication of the Scallops and the Fisherman of St. Brieuc Bay,’’ in The Science Studies Reader, ed. Mario Biagioli (New York: Routledge, 1999), 67–83; Timothy Mitchell, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 9–53; Harold A. Perkins, ‘‘Ecologies of Actor-Networks and (Non)Social Labor within the Urban Political Economies of Nature,’’ Geoforum 38, no. 6 (November 2007): 1153.

22. Watts, ‘‘Petro-Violence,’’ 192–94.

23. Brockington and Igoe, ‘‘Eviction for Conservation,’’ 445; William Cronon, ‘‘The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature,’’ in Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature, ed. William Cronon (New York: Norton, 1995), 77–79.

24. James Igoe, ‘‘The Spectacle of Nature in the Global Economy of Appearances: Anthropological Engagements with the Spectacular Mediations of Transnational Conservation,’’ Critique of Anthropology 30, no. 4 (December 2010): 376, 385.

25. Nik Heynen et al., eds., Neoliberal Environments: False Promises and Unnatural Consequences (London: Routledge, 2007), 2–9.

26. Brockington, Fortress Conservation, 3–9.

27. Shetler, Imagining Serengeti, 1–7.

28. Brockington, Fortress Conservation, 48, 56, 63; Daniel Brockington and Katherine Homewood, ‘‘Degradation Debates and Data Deficiencies: The Mkomazi Game Reserve, Tanzania,’’ Africa 71, no. 3 (2001): 463.

29. K. M. Homewood and W. A. Rodgers, ‘‘Pastoralism and Conservation,’’ Human Ecology 12, no. 4 (December 1984): 438–39; Helen Tilley Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870–1950 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011) 16–17; David Collett, ‘‘Pastoralists and Wildlife: Image and Reality in Kenya’s Maasailand,’’ in Conservation in Africa: People, Policies, and Practice, ed. David Anderson and Richard Grove (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 140–43.

30. Peluso, ‘‘Coercing Conservation,’’ 205–9.

31. Neumann, ‘‘Disciplining Peasants in Tanzania,’’ 318–21; Rosaleen Duffy, ‘‘The Role and Limitations of State Coercion: Anti-Poaching Policies in Zimbabwe,’’ Journal of Contemporary African Studies 17, no. 1 (1999): 104–7.

32. Peluso, ‘‘Coercing Conservation,’’ 206; Neumann, Imposing Wilderness, 189–90, 197–98. [End Page 107]

33. Neumann, ‘‘Disciplining Peasants in Tanzania,’’ 308–18.

34. Peluso, ‘‘Coercing Conservation,’’ 205.

35. James Igoe, ‘‘Human Rights, Conservation and the Privatization of Sovereignty in Africa—A Discussion of Recent Changes in Tanzania,’’ Policy Matters 15 (July 2007): 276; Kai Schmidt–Soltau, ‘‘Conservation–Related Resettlement in Central Africa: Environmental and Social Risks,’’ Development and Change 34, no. 3 (June 2003): 532–34.

36. William D. Newmark and John L. Hough, ‘‘Conserving Wildlife in Africa: Integrated Conservation and Development Projects and Beyond,’’ BioScience 50, no. 7 (July 2000): 585–89.

37. Neumann, ‘‘Primitive Ideas,’’ 563–66.

38. Ibid., 560.

39. Stephen Garnett et al., ‘‘Improving the Effectiveness of Interventions to Balance Conservation and Development: A Conceptual Framework,’’ Ecology and Society 12, no. 1 (January 2007): 1.

40. William Adams et al., ‘‘Biodiversity Conservation and the Eradication of Poverty,’’ Science 306, no. 5699 (November 2004): 1147; Wolfram Dressler et al., ‘‘From Hope to Crisis and Back Again? A Critical History of the Global CBNRM Narrative,’’ Environmental Conservation 37, no. 1 (March 2010): 6–7.

41. Neumann, ‘‘Primitive Ideas,’’ 564, 566, 577.

42. Jesse C. Ribot et al., ‘‘Recentralizing while Decentralizing: How National Governments Reappropriate Forest Resources,’’ World Development 34, no. 11 (November 2006): 1865, 1870, 1881.

43. Esther Mwangi and Elinor Ostrom, ‘‘Top-Down Solutions: Looking up from East Africa’s Rangelands,’’ Environment 51, no. 1 (2009): 41–42

44. Esther Mwangi, ‘‘Subdividing the Commons: Distributional Conflict in the Transition from Collective to Individual Property Rights in Kenya’s Maasailand,’’ World Development 35, no. 5 (May 2007): 817, 825; Bilal Butt et al., ‘‘Pastoral Herd Management, Drought Coping Strategies, and Cattle Mobility in Southern Kenya,’’ Annals of the Association of American Geographers 99, no. 2 (2009): 312, 327.

45. Bilal Butt, ‘‘The Political Ecology of ‘Incursions’: Livestock, Protected Areas and Socio-Ecological Dynamics in the Mara Region of Kenya,’’ Africa 84, no. 4 (November 2014): 614, 627–31; Brockington, Fortress Conservation, 112.

46. Shetler, Imagining Serengeti, 125.

47. I should note that these histories are considerably more complex and lengthy than what is present here because I wish to focus more explicitly on the spatialities, power dynamics, and historical material conditions at work in contemporary processes of dispossession. See Mwangi and Ostrom, ‘‘Top-Down Solutions,’’ 39–40.

48. Peter D. Little ‘‘Pastoralism, Biodiversity, and the Shaping of Savanna Landscapes in East Africa,’’ Africa 66, no. 1 (January 1996): 41–42.

49. Mwangi and Ostrom, ‘‘Top-Down Solutions,’’ 38.

50. Collett, ‘‘Pastoralists and Wildlife’’ 142–43.

51. Mwangi and Ostrom, ‘‘Top-Down Solutions,’’ 42.

52. M. M. E. M. Rutten, Selling Wealth to Buy Poverty: The Process of the Individualization of Landownership among the Maasai Pastoralists of Kajiado District Kenya, 1890–1990 (Saarbrucken: Verlag Breitenbach, 1992), 105, 198, 201, 207.

53. Mwangi, ‘‘Subdividing,’’ 818.

54. Rutten, Selling Wealth to Buy Poverty, 86, 249, 250. [End Page 108]

55. Mwangi and Ostrom, ‘‘Top-Down Solutions,’’ 40.

56. Rutten, Selling Wealth to Buy Poverty, 32, 83, 475.

57. Collett, ‘‘Pastoralists and Wildlife,’’ 140.

58. Bilal Butt, ‘‘Commoditizing the Safari and Making Space for Conflict: Place, Identity and Parks in East Africa,’’ Political Geography 31, no. 2 (February 2012):109.

59. The World Bank, ‘‘Wildlife and Tourism Project,’’ Project ID P001257 (1976), accessed December 4, 2014, http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2000/07/07/000178830_98101911020038/Rendered/PDF/multi_page.pdf.

60. Michael Thomposon and Katherine Homewood, ‘‘Entrepreneurs, Elites, and Exclusion in Maasailand: Trends in Wildlife Conservation and Pastoralist Development,’’ Human Ecology 30, no. 1 (March 2002): 126–29, 134; D. Michael Thompson et al., ‘‘Maasai Mara—Land Privatization and Wildlife Decline: Can Conservation Pay Its Way?,’’ in Staying Maasai? Livelihoods, Conservation, and Development in East African Rangelands, ed. Katherine Homewood et al. (London: Springer, 2009), 100–106.

61. Thompson, ‘‘Maasai Mara,’’ 101.

62. Richard H. Lamprey and Robin S. Reid, ‘‘Expansion of Human Settlement in Kenya’s Maasai Mara: What Future for Pastoralism and Wildlife?,’’ Journal of Biogeography 31, no. 6 (June 2004): 1024.

63. Robin Reid et al., People, Wildlife and Livestock in the Mara Ecosystem: The Mara Count 2002 (Nairobi: International Livestock Research Institute, 2003), 36.

64. Thompson, ‘‘Maasai Mara,’’ 102.

65. Mwangi and Ostrom, ‘‘Top-Down Solutions,’’ 40; Rutten, Selling Wealth to Buy Poverty, 293, 300, 321, 385.

66. Eirik Brun Sørlie, ‘‘The Establishment of Wildlife Conservancies in the Mara: The Case of Olare Orok Conservancy’’ (M.A. thesis, University of Olso, 2008), 53, 54, 76.

67. Thompson, ‘‘Maasai Mara,’’ 102.

68. Ibid., 87.

69. Sørlie, ‘‘The Establishment of Wildlife Conservancies,’’ 53–54.

70. Ibid., 58.

71. OOC, ‘‘The Concept of the Olare Orok & Motorogi Conservancy,’’ accessed April 23, 2012, https://web.archive.org/web/20121217034135/http://www.oocmara.com/concept/.

72. Sørlie, ‘‘The Establishment of Wildlife Conservancies,’’ 71; Suzanne Serneels et al., ‘‘Land Cover Changes around a Major East African Wildlife Reserve: The Mara Ecosystem (Kenya),’’ International Journal of Remote Sensing 22, no. 17 (November 20, 2001): 3411.

73. Sørlie, ‘‘The Establishment of Wildlife Conservancies,’’ 75, 80, 83, 89, 90.

74. Thompson, ‘‘Maasai Mara,’’ 80, 101–2, 108, 110.

75. Sørlie, ‘‘The Establishment of Wildlife Conservancies,’’ 62.

76. Ibid., 60.

78. Bilal Butt, ‘‘Coping with Uncertainty and Variability: The Influence of Protected Areas on Pastoral Herding Strategies in East Africa,’’ Human Ecology 39, no. 3 (2011): 296, 299, 300, 304.

79. Ibid., 297, 300.

80. Butt, ‘‘Commoditizing the Safari,’’ 110.

81. Ibid., 108. [End Page 109]

82. Living with Lions, ‘‘Mara Predator Project,’’ Accessed November 5, 2012, https://web.archive.org/web/20150910094345/http://www.lionconservation.org/mara-predator-project.html.

83. Nina Bhola et al., ‘‘The Distribution of Large Herbivore Hotspots in Relation to Environmental and Anthropogenic Correlates in the Mara Region of Kenya,’’ Journal of Animal Ecology 81, no. 6 (November 2012): 1279–80.

84. Butt, ‘‘Commoditizing the Safari,’’ 108.

85. Robin Reid, Savannas of Our Birth: People, Wildlife, and Change in East Africa (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012), 135–43.

86. Newmark and Hough, ‘‘Conserving Wildlife in Africa,’’ 587; Bram Büscher et al., ‘‘Towards a Synthesized Critique of Neoliberal Biodiversity Conservation,’’ Capitalism Nature Socialism 23, no. 2 (June 2012): 13–18; Tor A. Benjaminsen and Ian Bryceson, ‘‘Conservation, Green/Blue Grabbing and Accumulation by Dispossession in Tanzania,’’ Journal of Peasant Studies 39, no. 2 (2012): 336, 344, 350.

87. James Fairhead et al., ‘‘Green Grabbing,’’ 243, 245.

88. Sørlie, ‘‘The Establishment of Wildlife Conservancies,’’ 16, 72, 82; Neumann, ‘‘Disciplining Peasants in Tanzania,’’ 317.

89. Bhola et al., ‘‘The Distribution of Large Herbivore Hotspots,’’ 1277–85.

90. Butt et al., ‘‘Pastoral Herd Management,’’ 328.

91. Peluso, ‘‘Coercing Conservation,’’ 207.

92. Butt, ‘‘Commoditizing the Safari,’’ 111.

93. Reid, Savannas of Our Birth, 161. [End Page 110]

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