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Abstracts and Reports of the
AHEAD Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area
Seed Grant Awardees:

*Skills Development for Disease Monitoring in the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA): Capacity Building for Wildlife Disease Diagnostics – Emily Lane, Antoinette Kotze, Rosa Costa, Mary Louise Penrith and team, National Zoological Gardens of South Africa and collaborating institutions
, Antoinette@nzg.ac.za, rosa.cost@gmail.com, marylouise@sentechsa.com

The AHEAD initiative in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA) aims to provide a forum to address the risks of disease transmission between humans, domestic animals and wildlife as well as ways in which the developmental needs of Africa can be realistically met without compromising its environmental heritage. This project aims to take important steps to improve our knowledge of wildlife diseases in the GLTFCA. While serological surveys detect pathogens that we already know are present, pathological surveys help monitor both infectious and non-infectious diseases and identify emerging diseases. Collection of veterinary pathology diagnostic samples is currently restricted by practical, capacity and resource limitations. This project is designed to develop the skills and resources of veterinarians and veterinary pathologists working with wildlife diseases in the GLTFCA, and maintain databases and stored research samples for retrospective and prospective research. The joint funding received from the Wildlife Conservation Society and US Fish and Wildlife Service will enable 6 veterinarians each from Mozambique and South Africa to attend a practical wildlife disease investigation course offered by the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria in 2009, and to equip them each, as well as the laboratory of the Agricultural Research Institute in Maputo, with a necropsy tool kit. In addition, a training course on wildlife and exotic disease pathology will be developed for veterinary pathologists by the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa and the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, and funds secured will enable 4 Mozambican pathologists handling cases from the GLTFCA to attend the course in 2009. The grant also covers the processing costs of 30 GLTFCA wildlife cases each for Mozambican and South African pathology laboratories. We hope that that this seed money will facilitate successful applications for funds from other sources for long-term wildlife disease monitoring in the GLTFCA.

View/Download PDF of Mid-Year Report | View/Download PDF of Final Report

*Land Use Alternatives and Livelihood Viability in Ecosystems at Risk of Emergent Animal Diseases – Brian Child, Gregory Parent and Jessica Musengezi, University of Florida
bchild@africa.ufl.edu, gparent@ufl.edu, msengezi@ufl.edu

Many southern African countries have moved beyond cattle and agricultural systems to promote wildlife utilization as a strategy to improve environmental sustainability and to expand economic opportunities in dry savannas. These countries are using wildlife’s biophysical and economic advantages to generate a steady stream of benefits to landholders and local communities, thereby incentivizing the conservation of wildlife and the ecosystems in which they are present. This has led to a substantial uptake of wildlife enterprises on private land, as well as in some communal lands. In the GLTFCA, for example, large areas of park and private land are used for wildlife, and there are vast plans to improve the connectivity of wild areas by taking down fences and to extend this land use model to more communal areas. This connectivity also increases the opportunities for interactions between wildlife, livestock and humans.

As wildlife utilization and conservation programs expand in southern Africa, this changes ecosystems and land uses, and in turn alters the interaction between disease pathogens and various hosts. Such alteration can lead to emergence of infectious animal diseases that have substantial economic and biological costs. Our contribution to understanding this changing human, wild and domestic animal interface requires understanding how livelihoods systems are adapting, and the vulnerability of these changing systems to emerging diseases. Therefore, working on private and communal lands in the GLTFCA, we will:

1. evaluate the economic trade-offs and synergies between agro-extractive (i.e. livestock and agriculture) and bio-experience (i.e. tourism and hunting) land-use enterprises using the Policy Analysis Matrix (PAM) framework;
2. investigate how institutional policy (e.g. resource entitlement structures) affects the magnitude and adaptability of enterprises and livelihood systems at different scales; and
3. assess the vulnerability of livelihoods to disease emergence through the building of econometric models.

View/Download PDF of Mid-Year Report | View/Download PDF of Final Report

*Balancing Ecotourism And Livestock Production- Implications For Livelihoods And The Environment – Cheryl McCrindle and Petronella Chaminuka, University of Pretoria and Wageningen University
cheryl.mccrindle@up.ac.za, petronella.chaminuka@wur.nl

Diversification of rural livelihoods through ecotourism is a possible strategy to address problems of low income and unemployment in rural households in South Africa. However, the engagement in ecotourism by rural communities in the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA) will likely exacerbate competing claims on land and capital investment by a range of stakeholders in these areas. The AHEAD conceptual framework highlights the need to carefully examine alternative land-based livelihood options through research on alternative options and via community engagement. The main objective of this study is to develop, in consultation with various local stakeholders, a framework for evaluating land-use options and trade-offs related to improved livelihoods that combines socio-economic and bio-physical considerations. This framework will then be applied to evaluate ecotourism and livestock production land-use options. The potential economic benefit of ecotourism is investigated through choice modeling techniques, and then integrated into a bio-economic model to discern possibilities for improved livelihoods, together with data collected earlier on the economics of livestock production as a land-use possibility. The study area is the Mhinga traditional authority on the north-western side of the Kruger National Park, where livestock- and wildlife- based tourism ventures are competing for land and capital investment. The key project members are a multidisciplinary team comprising agricultural and environmental economists, public health veterinarians and animal production specialists. The project, which combines key themes in the AHEAD programme, is expected to input into sustainable land-use decisions locally and also facilitate capacity building at various levels. Overall, this programme will contribute towards better understanding of the range of sustainable socio-economic opportunities available to communities living in the GLTFCA.

View/Download PDF of Mid-Year Report | View/Download PDF of Final Report

*A Comparative Study of Institutional Arrangements for Small-Scale Livestock Farmers in Communities in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area – Jeanette Manjengwa and team, University of Zimbabwe Center for Applied Social Sciences
jmanjengwa@sociol.uz.ac.zw, jmanjengwa@gmail.com, jmanjengwa@hotmail.com

Generally, communal livestock farmers have weak structural organisation and this has negative impacts on local ability to respond in times of crisis and change. Most communal farmers do not have the institutional capacity to organise for the procurement of dipping chemicals, market livestock or manage disease at the local level without external support. Consequently, the ability of local communities to address the challenges of ticks and diseases is limited, and herd growth and quality are negatively affected. This project investigates local institutional arrangements and capacity in small-scale livestock communities in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA) to manage livestock and control livestock diseases so as to enhance production and marketing. The study will be carried out with two communities in the GLTFCA, namely Combomune Rio on the edge of Limpopo National Park in Mozambique, and Ward 15 in Chiredzi, next to Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe. The project seeks to understand the institutional arrangements around livestock production and the factors affecting effective disease management and control in the selected communities. The project will explore the two communities’ problems, challenges and opportunities concerning cattle-raising in the GLTFCA, as well as determine attitudes of small-scale livestock producers towards wildlife and the GLTFCA. Information gathered will contribute towards creating local-level scenarios and improved management plans. Finally, through dissemination workshops, meetings and literature, the project hopes to facilitate engagement between various types of stakeholders in order to assist communities to develop improved management plans and more effectively manage livestock and control animal disease in the GLTFCA. A better understanding of animal husbandry practices and examination of current practices, particularly in relation to disease prevention and problem animal control, will assist in the development and introduction of mitigating strategies.

View/Download PDF of Mid-Year Report | View/Download PDF of Final Report

*Zoonosis at the Interface: Lion (Panthera leo) Bovine Tuberculosis Overview and Analysis Workshop – Yolan Friedman, Brenda Daly, Markus Hofmeyr and Peter Buss, Endangered Wildlife Trust and South Africa National Parks
brendad@ewt.org.za, PeterB@sanparks.org, MarkusH@sanparks.org, yolanf@ewt.org.za

Bovine tuberculosis has been diagnosed in a number of species in the Kruger National Park. Historically, however, the primary concern for South African National Parks (SANParks) has been determining and monitoring the disease prevalence, incidence of new infection, and spatial and temporal spread of tuberculosis in the main wild maintenance host, the Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer). As the primary predator of buffalo in the region, lions (Panthera leo) experience high levels of exposure to Mycobacterium bovis and this, together with their social structure, may facilitate transmission of the disease within and between lion prides. A Disease Risk Assessment Workshop will be held from 16 to 20 March 2009 at Kruger National Park Veterinary Wildlife Services facilities in Skukuza, South Africa, to thoroughly evaluate the current status of lions in the park, review and discuss current research and clinical findings, and investigate potential population outcomes through predictive simulation modelling efforts. The workshop will be facilitated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Conservation Breeding Specialist Group Southern Africa (CBSG SA) and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), and will be hosted by SANParks. Expected workshop outcomes include strategic directions for dealing with the threat of bovine tuberculosis in lions and improved decision-making for the management of bovine tuberculosis.

View/Download PDF of Mid-Year Report | View/Download PDF of Final Report

*Alternative Sustainable Futures for Post-Resettlement in the Limpopo National Park, Mozambique – Ken Giller and Jessica Milgroom, Wageningen University
ken.giller@wur.nl, jessica.milgroom@wur.nl, jessica_milgroom@yahoo.com

The Limpopo National Park (LNP) in Mozambique was established as an important step in the creation of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA). The park is home to 27,000 people who depend primarily on natural resources for their livelihoods. Human-wildlife conflict and efforts to develop tourism in the park have necessitated the resettlement of eight villages situated along the Shingwedzi river to areas along the margins of the park. The first of these villages has been resettled near the village of Chinhangane in the Massingir district, and will be the location for the activities of this project. Resettlement commonly brings with it a set of risks for both resettled and host communities, including impoverishment and natural resource degradation. This integrated research and development project aims to improve understanding of the changes in livelihoods and subsequent impacts on natural resources of population resettlement. It aims to explore the opportunity for increasing food security through improved seed security and therefore mitigate some potential risks of resettlement. Seed security has been identified through previous research to be one of the key obstacles to attaining food security that does not depend on continued external support. To explore how residents adjust their livelihood activities in short-term response to resettlement, we will specifically monitor changes in dependence on natural resources, as well as livestock health. In order to put in place measures to improve seed security for both resettled and host residents, we will: (1) collect and describe local germ plasm of agricultural crops, (2) train farmers, SDAE and local NGO staff in techniques of seed multiplication, conservation and participatory varietal selection, among other topics, and (3) initiate a participatory varietal selection process comparing improved and local varieties. This project also aims to bring together researchers, NGOs, donors and farmers in a coordinated development effort.

View/Download PDF of Mid-Year Report | View/Download PDF of Final Report

*Community Theatre as a Communications and Outreach Tool to Support Local Level Scenario Planning Initiatives within the GLTFCA – Kule Chitepo, Webster Whande, Simon Anstey and team, Resource Africa
kule@resourceafrica.org, whandew@googlemail.com, wwhande@uwc.ac.za, simon.anstey@gmail.com,
simon.anstey@resourceafrica.org, mudzananidp@yahoo.com

This project seeks to provide support to two ongoing processes in the village of Bennde Mutale and along the Madimbo Corridor focused around a local-level scenario planning initiative and communication between Makuya Park management and local communities through the Makuya Forum. The project builds on ongoing scenario planning initiatives in the GLTFCA and aims:

To use culturally appropriate and creative communication and facilitation tools such as theatre, dance and storytelling to support ongoing scenario planning processes in the Bennde Mutale community.
To facilitate the articulation of local residents’ views and perspectives regarding the management of the Makuya Park.

A combination of methods will be used to achieve the objectives of this project. Firstly, theatre produced in consultation with local residents and performed by local youths will be used to provide support to the scenario planning initiative and the Makuya Park Forum. Secondly, facilitated thematic discussions will be used to refine the messages conveyed through theatrical productions and obtained through ongoing livelihoods research. Thirdly, productions will be used to communicate local people’s realities, needs and aspirations to broader planners of the GLTFCA and to the management at Makuya Park.

To facilitate the enhanced articulation of local voices, the project will work with theatre practitioners trained in facilitation and outreach skills. In particular, the practitioners will train a team of six local youths in theatrical and facilitation skills, so that they will be able to conduct similar work in future as well as generate potential income through performances in the tourism sector. Experiences from Bennde Mutale will be shared with other communities in Mozambique and Zimbabwe that are part of the GLTFCA scenario planning initiatives.

View/Download PDF of Mid-Year Report | View/Download PDF of Final Report

*Improvement of Village Poultry Health and Production by Communities in the Limpopo National Park Support Zone in Gaza Province, Mozambique – Robyn Alders and team, International Rural Poultry Centre, KYEEMA Foundation
robyn.alders@gmail.com, celiag@kyeemafoundation.org, mena.anjos@libero.it, bagnolbrigitte@icon.co.za

With the aid of an AHEAD Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area Seed Grant, the International Rural Poultry Centre (IRPC) will contribute to food security and poverty alleviation through the improvement of husbandry practices and disease control related to village chickens. Specific project objectives include:

a) The control of Newcastle Disease (ND) in village poultry;
b) Improved village poultry husbandry and management;
c) The development of poultry products suitable for sale to tourist centres; and
d) Improved household welfare, including improved nutrition and food security.

Rural farmers will be the clients of the ND control program and their participation in the implementation and monitoring stages of the project is critical to its success. The community will be involved with the selection of local farmers who will be trained to be community vaccinators. Community vaccinators will benefit from their work by protecting their own birds against ND and by receiving a small fee from neighbours when vaccinating their birds. Special attention will be given to ensure women’s participation and that they share in benefits during all stages of the interventions.

A participatory rural appraisal will be conducted at the commencement of the project, and then a year later, to monitor progress in a participatory way. IRPC training will be based on adult learning processes and use methods that benefit from and respect the knowledge and experience of participants.

The IRPC is a subsidiary entity within the KYEEMA Foundation, a not-for-profit organization based in Brisbane, Australia. It offers teams of specialists involved in village poultry production and the control of Newcastle disease (ND) under village conditions available to deliver services and capacity-building for rural poultry development activities internationally.

View/Download PDF of Mid-Year Report | View/Download PDF of Final Report

*Exploring Future Ecosystem Services: A Scenario Planning Approach to Uncertainty in the South East Lowveld of Zimbabwe – Cees Leeuwis, Chaka Chirozva and team, Wageningen University
Cees.Leeuwis@wur.nl, chaka.chirozva@gmail.com, cchirozva@sociol.uz.ac.zw, cchirozva@yahoo.co.uk

Scenario planning is a promising tool for dealing with uncertainty surrounding the future, but one that has been under-utilised in ecology and conservation. The use of scenarios to explore ecological dynamics of alternative futures is currently being promoted by a range of donors and scientists in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA). This study explores the use of participatory scenario planning in three selected wards in the South East Lowveld of Zimbabwe. The overall study objective is to develop insights on the dynamics surrounding local level participatory scenario planning and to explore how this methodology can enhance self organisation, learning and empowerment of marginalised stakeholders, as well as promote negotiation in the evolution of the GLTFCA. Scenarios are seen as a means of empowering marginalised local populations and facilitating a more equitable balance of power among communities within the GLTFCA on the one hand, and governments, technical planners, et al. on the other. The study will explore the livelihood strategies of the area, develop community scenarios and relate them to other scenarios developed at a technical level. Concerns such as livestock/veterinary disease control and tourism will be addressed, with the aim of developing multi-scale scenarios in the long term. The study will collect a block of data on key system processes, drivers and interactions that will likely impact the future of the Lowveld as a social-ecological system. This is critical in exploring alternative scenarios for the GLTFCA at several scales, from the local to regional, in order to promote dialogue and negotiation amongst stakeholders in the evolution and development of the GLTFCA.

View/Download PDF of Mid-Year Report | View/Download PDF of Final Report

*Pathogens, Parks and People: The Role of Disease in TFCA Development- Elissa Cameron, Claire Geoghegan and team, University of Pretoria Mammal Research Institute
ezcameron@zoology.up.ac.za, cgeoghegan@zoology.up.ac.za, getz@nature.berkeley.edu, cumming@icon.co.zw

Disease is a major burden for conservation and regional development in sub-Saharan Africa. Many countries struggle to control human infectious diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, and consequently underestimate the impact that emerging and zoonotic diseases have on livelihoods, the environment and economic sustainability. As the development of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area continues, it is essential that the potential for disease transmission between wildlife, livestock and human populations is assessed and that information gathered is used to inform disease management programs and policies. Using a range of participatory health techniques, and in collaboration with partners and stakeholders in Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, this project will quantify the roles of local agriculture and other land uses, livelihood strategies, and cultural practices on disease risks within the GLTFCA. We will delineate the practical risk factors for bovine tuberculosis and other zoonotic disease transmission between wildlife, livestock and human populations, as well as record the current disease concerns and levels of awareness of local people and health service providers in proximity of protected areas. Finally, we will provide: estimates of the current and potential impacts of zoonotic disease on the health of communities and livestock; a summary of community perceptions of the GLTFCA initiative; and an assessment of how these linkages may affect the long-term success of the GLTFCA from a multi-stakeholder perspective. In summary, this project will encourage the incorporation of a health perspective into conservation planning in southern Africa, supporting livelihood needs in the context of the development of one of the largest transfrontier conservation areas in Africa and the world.

View/Download PDF of Mid-Year Report | View/Download PDF of Final Report

*DVD and Accompanying Brochure on Balanced Rural Development In and Around Transfrontier Conservation Areas in Southern Africa: The Influence of Animal Disease Management – Koos Coetzer, Gavin Thomson and Bedelia Basson, University of Pretoria, TAD Scientific and M & M Productions
koos.coetzer@up.ac.za, gavin@tadscientific.co.za, bedelia@pixie.co.za

The establishment of transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs) aims at securing a future for some of the world’s remaining wilderness and wildlife conservation areas. The underlying objective is re-establishing ‘connectedness’ among biota, including restoration of wildlife migration patterns. There is, however, a perception among some stakeholders that commercial livestock production and conservation of wildlife are mutually incompatible due to animal diseases that impede access to regulated markets for commodities and products derived from animals. This notion is reinforced by international trade standards that seriously inhibit livestock production in southern Africa, and therefore prevent the integration of wildlife conservation and livestock farming necessary to achieve balanced, resilient rural development. The goal of this project is to contribute to a better understanding on the part of political and public service decision-makers of the conflicts that exist between livestock development and conservation initiatives, the impact that these have on rural development in southern Africa, and the possibilities for resolving the current impasse. The project objectives are: (1) to produce a professional quality DVD and accompanying brochure (packaged together) to explain this dilemma through an easily understandable audio-visual narrative based around one or two representative characters / situations where wildlife, livestock and communities in TFCAs interface; (2) to demonstrate with a powerful visual message that current concepts and approaches can be modified to the advantage of proponents of both biodiversity conservation and livestock production, and (3) to provide non-technical decision-makers with a succinct, easily understandable and scientifically sound source of information to help with ongoing evaluation of policy options. Potential project beneficiaries include communities inside and nearby both the Great Limpopo and the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) TFCAs, conservation and livestock authorities, and associated interest groups – all of whom will benefit from improved communications and the potential for more balanced approaches to rural development policy.

*A Strategic Review of Fencing Policies and Impacts in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area: Lessons Learned and Applicability to the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area – Ken Ferguson and John Hanks, FIRM, University of Pretoria Mammal Research Institute
selousgame@hotmail.com, hanksppt@iafrica.com

Fences represent a pervasive and increasingly important keystone structure that divides ‘natural’ and ‘human-derived’ landscapes in southern Africa and more specifically separates wildlife from livestock production areas. Permeable fences allow a flow rate of large mammals that leads to problems associated with the primary intended functions of the fence: blocking wildlife-livestock disease transmission (an indirect form of human-wildlife conflict), and reducing direct human-wildlife conflict (e.g., human-elephant conflict). The history of fencing policy in southern Africa is inconsistent with more recently developed long-term transfrontier conservation aims. Policy options for guiding fencing decisions must be explored and set within the context of disease containment options and, more generally, human-wildlife conflict mitigation goals. We aim to conduct a strategic review as a ‘stepping-stone’ to the development of a more comprehensive knowledge base related to the needs for fence management and maintenance, fence monitoring, and implementation of allied policies (such as corridor development) in transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs). Ultimately, this should lead to the drafting of Transfrontier Fence Management Plans for individual TFCAs.  Our goal is to deliver a comprehensive and strategic overview of the current role of fencing and the impacts these structures have on agricultural and conservation objectives. This Strategic Review will ideally yield information on planning, implementation and evaluation of the impacts of fencing policies (and alternatives). The conservation and developmental success of the Great Limpopo TFCA and Transfrontier Park (GLTFCA / GLTP) and the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) TFCA will depend upon a solid understanding of the complex issues surrounding approaches to the containment (and release) of wildlife and livestock. We hope this review will facilitate strategic discussion and increase regional knowledge transfer among transfrontier stakeholders with regard to the long-term resolution of fencing issues. The harmonization of fencing policy and the exploration of viable, science-based alternatives among a TFCA’s partner countries will be a complex and time-consuming process that will require the involvement of a variety of stakeholders representing divergent interests. These stakeholders require a cross-sectoral review of the evidence pertaining to fencing successes and failures that can inform future actions and research. Recognizing and fully respecting the sovereignty of each country, this analysis aims to explore means of improving collaboration, between sectors and among the partner countries, on fences and the social, political, economic and biological forces that shape them.

View/Download PDF of Final Report

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