Conservation, Markets & the Environment in Southern and Eastern Africa
Title Details

512 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

32 b/w and 11 colour illus.

Series: Future Rural Africa

Series Vol. Number: 3

Imprint: James Currey

Conservation, Markets & the Environment in Southern and Eastern Africa

Commodifying the ‘Wild’

Edited by Michael Bollig, Alfons Wabahe Mosimane, Romie Vonkie Nghitevelekwa and Selma Mekondjo Lendelvo

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WINNER of the 2023 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award

Focuses on a much discussed and controversial aspect of conservation: the commodification of nature. Can the successful marketization of what is generally perceived as wilderness help to provide for biodiversity conservation, economic development and social emancipation?

At a time of profound anxiety about the impact of human activity on nature and the catastrophic effects of climate change, the "sixth mass extinction", invasive species and rapidly expanding zoonotic diseases, this volume engages with the practices, discourses, and materialities surrounding the commodification of "the wild". Focusing on the relationship between commodification and wilderness, the contributors pay particular attention to commodification's newer iterations in which human management plays a significant role, such as wildlife-park tourism, trophy-hunting, and trade in herbal medicines, perfumes and luxury exotic food items.

Dominant neoliberal approaches have aimed to address global environmental challenges through the commodification and marketization of nature: by valorizing nature, they claim, biodiversity can be safeguarded and "wild" landscapes protected. This, it is thought, will not only open up a new frontier of sustainable, non-exploitative, participatory capitalist expansion, but invigorate rural livelihoods, reduce poverty, and add important assets to otherwise vulnerable rural economies. This important book challenges this future trajectory. Investigating a broad range of cases across southern and eastern Africa, from the illegal sandalwood trade to legal trade in devil's claw and honeybush, to trophy-hunting and wilderness safaris, the contributors reveal the pitfalls and challenges of commodification, what this means for the continent and beyond.

OPEN ACCESS: This title is freely available in digital format under the Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND
1. Introduction: Practices, discourses, and materialities surrounding the commodification of the 'Wild'
Michael Bollig, Linus Kalvelage, Léa Lacan, Selma Lendelvo, Alfons Mosimane, and Romie Nghitevelekwa

2.Fetishizing the 'Wild': Conservation, commodities and capitalism
Clemens Greiner and Michael Bollig
3. Value Chains and Global Production Networks: Conceptual considerations and economic development in the 'Wild'
Javier Revilla-Diez, Carolin Hulke, and Linus Kalvelage
4. Benefit Sharing and Biodiversity Commodification: A failed approach for social justice, equity and conservation?
Rachel Wynberg
5. Transfrontier Conservation Governance, Commodification of Nature, and the New Dynamics of Sovereignty in Namibia
Johannes Dittmann and Detlef Müller-Mahn

6. Towards Pro-poor or Pro-profit? The governance framework for harvesting and trade of devil's claw (Harpagophytum spp.) in the Zambezi Region, Namibia
Jessica-Jane Lavelle
7. Marginalisation and exclusion in honeybush commercialisation in South Africa
Sthembile Ndwandwe
8. From Forest to National Resource: Forest conservation and state power in Baringo, Kenya
Léa Lacan
9. Commodifying East Africa's Sandalwood: Organised crime and community participation in transnational smuggling of endangered species
Eric Mutisya Kioko and Michael Mugo Kinyanjui
10. The Gum Arabic Business: Modernization of production in north-eastern Nigeria
Hauke-Peter Vehrs and Ibrahim Maina Wazirii

11. Producing Elephant Commodities for 'Conservation Hunting' in Namibian Communal-area Conservancies
Lee Hewitson and Sian Sullivan
12. Human-wildlife Interaction, Rural Conflict and Wildlife Conservation
Ezequiel Fabiano, Selma Lendelvo, Alfons Mosimane, and Selma Kosmas
13.Hunting for Development: Global production networks and the commodification of wildlife in Namibia
Linus Kalvelage

14. Women in Rural Northern Namibia and the Commodification of Indigenous Natural Products
Romie Nghitevelekwa, Selma Lendelvo, and Martin Shapi
15. Conservation, Traditional Authorities, and the Commodification of the 'Wild': a Namibian perspective
Alfons Mosimane, Kenneth Matengu, and Michael Bollig
16. Commodification of Wildlife Resources in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
Joseph E. Mbaiwa
17. Justice Dilemmas in Conservation Conflicts in Uganda
Lioba Lenhart

18. Conclusions: Commodifying the 'Wild' - Where do we go from here?
Michael Bollig, Linus Kalvelage, Léa Lacan, Selma Lendelvo, Alfons Mosimane, and Romie Nghitevelekwa

Michael Bollig is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Cologne. His books include Shaping the African Savannah: From Capitalist Frontier to Arid Eden in Namibia (2020) and, with David Andersen, Resilience and Collapse in African Savannahs (2017).

Alfons Mosimane, a geographer, is the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Namibia. For the past 20 years Dr Mosimane has researched institutional development and governance systems in community based natural resources management (CBNRM) in Namibia.

Romie Vonkie Nghitevelekwa is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Namibia. She is the author of Securing Land Rights: Communal Land Reform in Namibia (2020).

Selma Lendelvo is a Senior Researcher and Director of Grants Management and Resources Mobilisation at the University of Namibia. Her research focuses on environmental management and sustainable natural resources management.



May 2023


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Title Details

512 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

32 b/w and 11 colour illus.

Series: Future Rural Africa

Series Vol. Number: 3

Imprint: James Currey