Towards a true ecology: Exploring the implications for conservation of the human and social dimensions of fencing in the subtropical thicket biome, South Africa

Andrew T. Knight, Richard M. Cowling

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Regional-scale corridors are an increasingly common approach adopted by conservation organisations attempting to ensure the persistence of species and their habitats by maintaining the environmental processes which sustain them. These initiatives must often grapple with proposed linkages across privately owned land, which include multiple fences. Most research on this topic has focused upon the importance of ecological connectivity; however, social connectivity is also an essential prerequisite for effective nature conservation. Human and social capital are important factors defining conservation opportunity, along with conservation values and the vulnerability and economic costs of implementing conservation action. Human and social capital can be considered, respectively, the individual and collective characteristics that positively influence the effective implementation of conservation action. Mapping the human and social dimensions of conservation opportunity provides spatially explicit information on individual land managers and the broader societal context in which conservation initiatives must function. Land managers located within the Fish-Kowie conservation corridor, a priority area identified in the Subtropical Thicket biome of the Eastern Cape, South Africa, were interviewed to identify the human and social dimensions of conservation opportunity in order to support the implementation of conservation action, which would, in turn, improve connectivity throughout the proposed corridor. Evidence indicates that securing the agreement of land managers to remove fences will be a challenge that will require significant investment in activities to build human and social capital, along with innovative conservation approaches offering direct benefits to landowners.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFencing for Conservation
Subtitle of host publicationRestriction of Evolutionary Potential Or a Riposte to Threatening Processes?
PublisherSpringer Dordrecht Heidelberg New York
Pages197-213
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781461409021
ISBN (Print)9781461409014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

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