Using Innovative Land Conservation Tools in Africa to Protect Land, Enhance Resource Management and Improve Community Livelihoods – report
Africa is facing unprecedented habitat and species loss. While Africa hosts an important network of protected areas that supports wildlife, ecosystem services and generates revenue for host countries; Africa’s protected areas are too small and isolated to support viable populations of wildlife and substantially benefit local communities. If Africa’s wildlife is going to thrive in the future, land must be secured outside of protected areas and in a way that benefits the landowners and improves livelihoods. This requires creative conservation tools that are grounded in clear land tenure rights and community participation, and utilizes responsible investment to incentivize improved natural resource management. The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has implemented successful models in Africa that have protected strategic land for conservation purposes and improved community livelihoods. AWF has executed environmental easements, payment for ecosystem services, conservation leases, community conservancies, conservation agreements and land use plans. This paper and presentation outlines specific field based case studies on land investments that have resulted in conservation, better land management and benefits to communities in Kenya, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo and makes recommendations on how to incentivize conservation and develop a legal framework that provides for various land conservation mechanisms.