COMMUNITY INTERACTIONS IN NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

June 29, 2018 2:30PM - 4:30PM

Room 338 Natural Resource Building

Abstract

Nigeria is a paradox: an impoverished country that is rich in natural resources. Decades of failed natural resource management strategies have caused policy makers and scholars to reconsider the role of community in resource use and conservation. The community’s role is especially important since communities contain various resource users who rely on and relate to the land in multiple often conflicting ways. However, several issues pertaining to land tenure, citizenship/ownership, economic and societal status, governance, gender, institutions, residual post-colonial and international paradigms impede the feasibility of community resource management. According to the UN population assessment, Nigeria’s population will rapidly increase as such it is important for sustainable natural resource management policies. Additionally, unsustainable extraction of resources leads to increase depletion which affects the poor that depend on the environment and natural resources for their livelihood and survival. There is also the erroneous belief that communities are homogenous with collective interest which if true would make community natural resource management easier. However, various resource users have vastly different interest that negatively affect other resource uses.  This qualitative research includes formal and informal interviews and participant observation. Through this study I was able to live and experience daily what it means to be connected to place and how displacement for conservation can negatively impact a community. I understood better how poverty and lack of access to social amenities affects their daily lives and creates an overdependence on the natural environment thus making the concept of sustainability a mirage. Additionally, I experienced first-hand the resource user’s willingness to kill and die for the land when a conflict arose between the pastoralists and the farmers when I was in the field. In my presentation I use story to help listeners to see, feel and experience what it means to depend on the land for survival. Most importantly, I realize that untangling the web of complexities calls on a different, unconventional approach. This approach advocates that understanding sustainable resource management enough to conserve is achieved through the heart rather than the head, by practicing love, friendship, generosity and empathy.

 

Dr. John Kerr (Chairperson)
Dr. Laurie Thorp
Dr. Lissy Goralnik
Dr. Nancy DeJoy

 

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