The role of the traditional authority in the conservation of natural resources in the western province of Zambia, 1978-1989
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This dissertation is a study of the role of the Traditional Authority in the conservation of natural resources in Western Province of Zambia. The study highlights the conservation of trees, animals, birds and reeds. By so doing, the study analyses issues behind the conservation of these respective resources. Conservation was realised through the passage of laws by the traditional Kuta and their implementation by appointed Silalo Indunas or overseers. That was usually done with the full participation of local communities. The local communities were an integral part of the traditional conservation strategy. The B.S.A. Company did not alter the traditional set up existing in Western Province. By the 1900 Agreement, the Western Province's natural resources were left squarely in the hands of the traditional authority.As a result, this study argues that departments like Forest and Game and Fisheries did not operate in Western Province during the B.S.A. Company period of administration.However, it was only the Forest Department, which Worked with the traditional Authority during the colonial office period of administration. As a result of that cooperation, the old system of forest conservation was revamped. The study argues that the bulk of conservation work in the forest reserves in Sesheke district, was carried out by a Forest Induna System initiated by J.D. Martin, an Assistant Conservator of Forests. Political and economic developments during the colonial era did not affect conservation greatly. This study argues that this was the situation because of limited urbanisation and the fact that the laws allowed local people good access to the conserved resources.However, this study demonstrates also that the categorisation of wild game as royal animals did not augur well for conservation. The traditional authority simply legislated that to exclude the majority of the population. The Lozi royal family realized huge profits out of ivory trade and this led to a depletion of the royal animals, especially elephants. Independence for Northern Rhodesia opened another chapter for conservation in Western Province. Through the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, the traditional authority still continued to exercise its rights over the natural resources. However, political considerations led to its cancellation in 1969. This followed a period of new legislation that considerably affected conservation. This study argues that the negative development was mainly brought about by the fact that people were alienated from their resources. In addition, the study equally argues that the law enforcement mechanism that replaced the old order was inadequate due to financial constraints. Also, security problems in Sioma-Ngwezi National Park allowed a catastrophic degree of poaching to take place.The study further argues that resources like birds and reeds were never catered for by the new legislation.Being unguarded, the situation gave way to a wanton destruction of wild life and a reduction in the area of reed reserves. Finally, the study argues that the relaxation of influx control regulations and an end to private fishing sites, coupled with drought and a lack of fish conservation measures led to a depletion of fish stocks.