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Susan C. Caplow
PhD Candidate
Carolina Population Center
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Community-Based Management and Conservation in Africa: Trade-Offs and Synergies in Land-Use Decisions in Local Villages

Niko lives in Namibia and is about to attend a community meeting at which the fate of his family's re-settlement will be decided. He is not sure what would be best for his family; his father does not want to move while his brother is optimistic that the move will improve their lives. How should Niko's community balance their declining rain-fed agricultural production with an increasing need to conserve charismatic megafauna? Niko's situation is used as the basis of a simulation activity in which students are assigned to one of three different African communities faced with a similar relocation decision. Students learn about a complex socio-environmental system from biophysical, socio-economic, and cultural viewpoints and are introduced to the basic governance and management structures characteristic of these communities. The case was created for introductory or mid-level courses in natural resource conservation, wildlife conservation, or environmental sociology, but it may also be appropriate for various geography courses and seminars. A PowerPoint file (which includes a link to a video with background information) is included as supplementary, supporting material.