The Integration of Stakeholder Knowledge – How Do Namibian Farmers Perceive Natural Resources and their Benefits?
Jenny Bischofberger1, Stefan Liehr1, Christian Reutter2, Oliver Schulz1
1Inst. for Social-Ecological Research, Dept. of Water Resources and Land Use, Germany
In Namibia 45 per cent of the national land area can only be used as rangeland. Directly or indirectly, its natural resources provide the livelihoods for the majority of Namibians. Yet, the rangelands are increasingly threatened by degradation. Sustainable management of these ecosystems is challenging due to the complex interactions between irregular climate patterns, vegetation and water dynamics and land use intensity. Research aiming for a better understanding of these systems can assist in finding optimal management strategies for natural resources. However, when scientific assessments require realistic management scenarios and when information is needed for decision making and the subsequent implementation of locally optimised management, users of resources as well as policy advisors should from an early stage be involved in the process. This ensures the joint production of knowledge among users, policy advisors and scientists, and helps to identify hindrances to sustainable management practices for different stakeholders. Findings on local knowledge and preferences can point to suitable approaches for management and the development of an adequate ecosystem response and ensure better communication between stakeholders and scientists.
Keywords: Namibia, natural resources management, Savannah
Contact Address: Jenny Bischofberger, Inst. for Social-Ecological Research, Dept. of Water Resources and Land Use, Hamburger Allee 45, 60486 Frankfurt, Germany, e-mail: bischofbergerisoe.de