Macquarie University
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Connecting people and nature in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area: a study of power, scale and multiple perspectives in Southern Africa

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posted on 2022-03-29, 01:39 authored by Ropafadzo Kelebuhile Moyo
Over the past two decades, the use of Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) as a strategy to preserve Southern Africa’s natural heritage has increased. TFCAs bestride the borders of two or more countries and are jointly managed by the countries involved for conservation purposes. However, TFCAs are critiqued for side-lining certain natural resource users, particularly local communities (Borrini & Jaireth 2007, Ramutsindela 2005, Ramutsindela 2004, Leach et al. 1999). A growing body of research shows that protected areas and conservation strategies cannot protect natural resources in the long term without involving local communities in planning and implementation (Lele et al. 2010). This thesis uses a case study of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA-TFCA) to examine power relations that occur at multiple scales in nature conservation. KAZA-TFCA is the world’s largest TFCA, encompassing 5 nation-states in Southern Africa - Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Guided by qualitative data, this thesis explores the multiple perspectives of different KAZA-TFCA stakeholders – human and non-human. Specifically, the thesis analyses KAZA-TFCA through three scaled lenses. Firstly, it focuses on the creation and implementation of KAZA-TFCA itself as a new regional scale of conservation governance. Secondly, it focuses on the role of the nation-state within KAZA-TFCA through the lens of one of KAZA-TFCA’s key players – Zimbabwe. Finally, it focuses on the north-west sector of Zimbabwe to enable a more nuanced local understanding of how power flows through and shapes human and non-human relationships in KAZA-TFCA. Findings suggest that processes occurring at different scales and involving different stakeholders and non-stakeholders brush up against each other and directly affect what is happening within the TFCA. By examining how different actors from different positions of power and authority engage with conservation processes within KAZA-TFCA, the thesis reveals the contradictory and consonant practices that are shaping conservation and development in KAZA-TFCA. The results illustrate how power and scale interrelate and result in exclusionary conservation practices in transboundary conservation, especially exclusion of local – human and non-human - communities. The thesis contributes to emerging debates on power and participation in nature conservation spheres and opens spaces for rethinking human and non-human relationships.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Getting to know the thesis -- Chapter 2. Getting to know the research -- Chapter 3. Power, scale and multiple perspectives in natural resource management and nature conservation -- Chapter 4. Conservation without boundaries? Cross-scale challenges and opportunities of introducing a ‘new’ scale – KAZA-TFCA -- Chapter 5. Inter-national politics, conservation and the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA-TFCA) : how the political situation in Zimbabwe is influencing conservation strategies within KAZA-TFCA -- Chapter 6. Beyond KAZA-TFCA : local community engagement in conservation in North Western Zimbabwe -- Chapter 7. Context, Scale and power : implications for participation, nature and people -- Chapter 8. Conclusions and critical reflections -- Appendices -- References.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 239-272

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Geography and Planning

Department, Centre or School

Department of Geography and Planning

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Sandie Suchet-Pearson

Additional Supervisor 1

Greg Walkerden


Copyright Ropafadzo Kelebuhile Moyo 2019. Copyright disclaimer:






1 online resource (xvii, 291 pages) colour illustrations, colour maps

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