Community conservation continues to expand, increasing the number of people who benefit from natural resource use, as well as the area under conservation. Increased landscape connectivity created by new conservancies across Namibia is vital to ensuring environmental resilience and countering the impacts of climate change. These developments are major contributors to Namibia’s efforts to fulfil its constitutional commitment to safeguard the environment while at the same time achieving economic growth and rural development. CBNRM is recognised by the Namibian government as contributing to a range of national development goals, including several for the environment.

The expansion of structured natural resource management across Namibia

At independence in 1990, there were no registered community conservation areas and a mere 14% of land was under recognised conservation management. At the end of 2018, land under gazetted natural resource management covered 38.2% of Namibia.

Conservation areas in 1990
Conservation areas in 2018

Privately owned conservancies on farmland account for 6.1% of Namibia. The total land available to wildlife is around 44.3% of Namibia.

Community conservation cover

Community Conservation cover in 2018

The area covered by conservancies and community forests has rapidly grown to 169,756 km2, which is 55.4% of all communal land. At the end of 2018, there were an estimated 222,871 people living in conservancies, with another 6,257 members of the Kyaramacan Association living in Bwabwata National Park. This figure has been estimated based on Namibia Population and Housing Census data for 2001 and 2011.

A landscape approach to conservation

Increased landscape connectivity created by the growth of conservancies across Namibia is vital to ensuring environmental resilience and countering the impacts of climate change, not only nationally but also across national borders. The creation of contiguous conservation areas and transboundary conservation areas provide for conservation at scale.

Wider benefits of conservation

These developments are major contributors to Namibia’s efforts to fulfil its constitutional commitment to safeguard the environment while at the same time achieving economic growth and rural development. CBNRM is recognised by the Namibian government as contributing to a range of national development goals, including several for the environment.

Community involvement

It is important to note that conservancy formation was and is driven by local communities, which have decided to protect wildlife as an economic option because they derive benefits from it through tourism and conservation hunting. The expansion of conservation areas has also led to the expansion of wildlife populations in state and community protected areas.

Community involvement
This page was last updated on: 9th December 2019