Integrated conservation and interface functioning

What socio-ecological interactions affect the functioning of the interface in a context of environmental and societal changes?

Research objectives

The establishment of Hwange National Park in the 1930s led to numerous ecological and social transformations at different spatial and temporal scales. Like any protected area, the management of Hwange National Park cannot succeed without a better understanding of the dynamics of the socio-ecosystem beyond the Park’s own borders. Our research is based on a historical approach to the dynamics of the system from the pre-colonial period to the present day. It covers all the links that underlie human-wildlife coexistence and the conservation-development interface in a context of environmental and societal changes subject to strong uncertainties. Our interdisciplinary research framework leads us to jointly consider social and ecological dynamics, integrating complementary disciplines such as ethnology and sociology, human, animal and plant ecology, conservation biology, geography, political science, veterinary science, and agronomic science.

Research questions

→ How have social and ecological dynamics changed since the Park was created, and how have these dynamics responded to major environmental and political changes in recent decades?

→ What are the costs and benefits associated with the existence of a protected area and how do they influence the functioning of the system in terms of production, coexistence and social and environmental justice?

→ What types of interface and interface management allow for coexistence between protected and peripheral areas, and more generally between different systems of production and land use, including conservation?

→ How can a protected area meet the challenge of contributing to the welfare of human populations by guaranteeing the ecological functioning of the system and the preservation of biodiversity?