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University of Oxford (1988)

The role of wildlife utilization in the sustainable economic development of semi-arid rangelands in Zimbabwe

Child, Brian

Titre : The role of wildlife utilization in the sustainable economic development of semi-arid rangelands in Zimbabwe.

Auteur : Child, Brian.

Université de soutenance : University of Oxford

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) : 1988

Résumé
The aim was to establish if wildlife could be used to sustainably develop semi-arid rangelands. A survey of Zimbabwe’s game ranching industry allowed it to be comprehensively described for the first time, and permitted a conceptual understanding of it to be developed. An important point to emerge were that semi-arid rangelands cannot be sustainably developed using conventional meat production systems. The principal limiting factor here is environmental capital, specifically grass, but secondary (animal) production cannot generally be increased without degrading this resource base. The consequences of overgrazing on the productivity and profitability of rangeland enterprises are shown to be severe. However, cattle ranching is already marginal or unprofitable despite heavy subsidization and support, and offers few prospects for sustainable development because of these environmental constraints. Wildlife, in contrast, has many uses (which are in demand) in addition to meat production. This allows specialization and diversification, and with the addition of utility through services, marketing etc. (the process of economic development), income can be raised substantially without over-utilizing environmental capital. Indeed, it is this (not superior meat production) that gives wildlife a comparative advantage in semi-arid rangelands. Although still new and under-developed, wildlife enterprises already utilize these rangelands twice as efficiently as cattle, and there is considerable scope for improvement which, in fact, is occurring rapidly. Wildlife utilization, by adding economic tiers to conventional production processes (i.e. meat), can achieve sustainable economic development in semi-arid rangelands.

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