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|Author :||Lesego S. Stone & Gyan P. Nyaupane|
|School/Work Place :||University of Botswana & Arizona State University|
Present-day Western approaches relating to nature and natural resources management assume that humans are independent from the natural world (Pierotti & Wildcat, 2000). Protected areas such as Yellowstone National Park were created with this narrative in mind. This view of conservation and nature is deeply entrenched and wilderness is still celebrated by many as a place to rejuvenate and discover the purpose for life (DiSilvestro, 1993). This construction sees nature as a resource for human use and a challenge for the rational mind to conquer (Adams, 2003). Despite this worldwide acceptance of Western views on nature, Mackenzie (1988) acknowledges the wilderness-humankind separation provided a means through which British colonizers took over their African colonies’ land and created enclaves that could serve their interests.
In contrast to westerners’ beliefs, Southerners believe in the harmony between nature and society (Colchester, 2000). For most, there is knowledge on how to interrelate with nature (Redford and Stearman, 1993). Evidence indicates that even with hunter-gatherers and wildlife being a part of local diet and commodity trading, wildlife populations remained high (Murombedzi, 2003). This has been attributed to the use of local myths, policies, customs and religions that reinforced and regulated resource use (Hviding, 2003). These traditional strategies promote and support the conservation of nature while ensuring access to it (Murombedzi, 2003).
The creation of protected areas has had negative impacts on native communities; in Uganda, the Ik were removed from their traditional hunting grounds to allow for the establishment of Kidepo National Park while in Botswana, Basarwa were relocated to make way for Moremi National Park (Colchester, 2000). Hence, local resentments may occur. For instance, although for most White Americans protected places represent, beauty and national pride, the same lands symbolize deception, lost land, and continued oppression for many Native Americans who were displaced from their ancestral lands (McAvoy, 2002).