Nearly half of Namibia under conservation

A total of 45.6% of Namibia’s land surface is under some form of natural resource management, be it state protected areas, communal conservancies or freehold land used for wildlife.

21 April 2021 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

More than 45% of Namibia’s land surface was under conservation by 2019.

In 2019 the land under community conservation, which includes conservancies and community forests, remained at 166 197 square kilometres, with no new conservancies added.

About 44% of Namibia is therefore under some form of natural resource management, 21% of which is communal land and 16% is protected by the state, while the remainder is on freehold land.

By the end of 2019 there were 86 registered conservancies, one community conservation association and 43 registered and emerging community forests, affecting over 22 000 Namibians.

This is according to the State of Community Conservation in Namibia 2019 Report.

Combined with state protected areas, tourism concessions and freehold land used for wildlife, 45.6% of Namibia’s land surface is now under conservation.

Livelihood

According to the report, conservancies create a platform for rural development, both by providing direct benefits and by facilitating rural SMEs run by their members.

In 2019, the total returns, cash pus the value of non-monetary benefits from conservancies totalled over N$150 million.

The total cash income and in-kind benefits generated in conservancies, including the Kyaramacan Association, grew from less than N$1 million in 1998 to over N$150 million in 2019.

This included all directly measurable income and in-kind benefits generated and can be divided into cash income to conservancies, cash income to residents from enterprises and as in-kind benefits to residents.

“New conservancies have been added nearly every year, and these generally take time to move up into the higher-earning income categories by increasing their resource base and attracting joint venture partners,” the report says.

“Some of the older conservancies that remain in low-income brackets need extra support to identify income-generating opportunities and strengthen their natural resource management systems, although earning potential may be influenced by circumstances beyond conservancy control.”

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