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Licht, et al., Lessons from Africa

Licht, et al., Lessons from Africa - Out of Africa Lessons...

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In this paper we discuss the goals, operations, and policies of park manage- ment in South Africa—specifically in regard to wildlife management—and how they con- trast with park management in the U.S. Our discussion is especially relevant to protect- ed areas in grassland, savanna, and shrub- land biomes because both countries contain those habitat types (Licht et al. 2008). We focus on seven issues that may stimulate thought among U.S. managers. It is our hope that an understanding and apprecia- tion of the approaches used in South Africa leads to better wildlife conservation in pro- tected areas in the U.S. Lessons from Africa Capitalism can help establish pro- tected areas and conserve wildlife. Pro- tected areas in the U.S. have typically been developed from lands that contain grand and inspiring scenery, are sparsely populat- ed, and/or have little commercial value (Sellars 1997). Establishing these protected areas was often justified with intangibles such as therapeutic, spiritual, or existence values (Harmon 2004). All of these non- economic attributes are meritorious, but sometimes they are insufficient to establish or protect a site, especially when such justi- fications must compete against convention- al economic uses of the land. In contrast, many protected natural areas in South Africa were justified and established in large part on economics. Some of the recently established natural areas were formerly occupied farmland and ranchland. It was determined that the eco- nomic benefits of natural areas—which cen- ter on wildlife and ecotourism—were great The George Wright Forum 20 Out of Africa: Lessons from Park Management in South Africa Daniel S. Licht, Rob Slotow, and Joshua Millspaugh Introduction T HE U NITED S TATES TAKES GREAT PRIDE IN ITS NATIONAL PARKS . As Phillips (2003) wrote, the U.S. was a pioneer in establishing “protected areas in their classic form, as government- owned, government-run areas set aside for the protection and enjoyment” of the public. Yet it would be presumptuous to assume that the U.S., and specifically, the National Park Service (NPS), has the only successful model for establishing and managing protected areas. The past several decades have seen a proliferation of protected areas outside of the U.S. Many of these new sites have not had the level of government funding or support that U.S. parks typ- ically get; therefore, park proponents and managers at these sites have had to be creative in order to succeed. These new approaches have created what Phillips (2003) calls a “new par- adigm” for protected areas. Under this new paradigm, park goals, operations, and policies contrast markedly with past approaches, and with what is currently practiced, in U.S. parks.
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Volume 25 • Number 1 (2008) 21 enough to justify converting these sites to parks and reserves. Wildlife continues to be a primary economic driver in these parks. The irony is that in the U.S., economic
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Licht, et al., Lessons from Africa - Out of Africa Lessons...

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