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Wageningen University (2013)

Producing nature : enacting new spaces during nature conservation on private land in the Eastern Cape, South Africa and the Ooijpolder, the Netherlands

Pasmans, T.

Titre : Producing nature : enacting new spaces during nature conservation on private land in the Eastern Cape, South Africa and the Ooijpolder, the Netherlands

Auteur : Pasmans, T.

Université de soutenance : Wageningen University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2013

Résumé
Nature conservation at the turn of the 21st century is increasingly shifting in meaning, practice and purpose with its implementation on private land. Taken up as an agricultural activity, farmers are changing the interaction with their environment as they continue to reconstruct nature with a new set of strategies. Analyzing the interaction between humans and their environment, this thesis pursues to understand how nature conservation as a reciprocal and continuous interaction between people and ‘living nature’ is redefining our understanding of spaces. Theorized as processes of co-production, the thesis takes an ethnographic approach on cases from the Eastern Cape, South Africa and the Ooijpolder in the Netherlands to illustrate spaces as mutually constituted and as socio-natural entities. Comparing cases on both an abstract and practical level, it aims to understand how changing social relationships and biophysical elements are producing new kinds of spaces on private land through time. In the Eastern Cape, private landowners have developed new relationships with their wildlife that can be owned, sold and used as a commodity if adequately enclosed. Receiving a clear economic value, game farming is allowing farmers to use wildlife as a source of capital to make a living from the resources on their land. Influenced by an external demand for trophies or photographic safaris, management is influenced by a desire originating somewhere else, while simultaneously adapted to protect it from unintended and unwanted local appropriations. In the Ooijpolder, similar, yet totally different conservation practices are taking places as farmers are setting aside parts of their land to do ‘landscape farming’. Engaging in partnerships with governments or well established conservation organizations, farmers are again incorporating natural elements within their farming operations that became disconnected or ignored during the modernization of agriculture. Developing hedges, trees, pools or grassland meadows on their land, farmers are receiving a mix of public and private funding to compensate for its management and earn an additional bonus. Creating a landscape based on cultural and historical elements, nature conservation on private land in the Ooijpolder is attracting urban visitors for recreational activities, blurring access and the meaning of public and private on the farm. Analyzed as processes of co-production, the ‘privatization of nature’ is allowing farmers to (re)establish relationships with resources from their direct environment. Constructing exclusive, closed spaces in the Eastern Cape and opening up spaces in the Ooijpolder, nature conservation on private land is providing farmers assets to co-produce an ecological capital on their land and move away from the ‘squeeze’ in conventional agriculture. Enacted during ongoing interactions of coproduction, spaces should not be seen as fixed entities already ‘out there’. They are better treated as relational and relative, constantly humanized as people are taking part in constructing nature to their benefit and interest.

Mots clés : wildlife management / agri-environment schemes / farm management / land use / multiple use / extensive farming / scrub / nature development / gelderse poort / south africa

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Page publiée le 14 février 2015, mise à jour le 18 octobre 2018