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Subproject

SP06 - Cultural knowledge, valuation, and regulation of Ecosystem Services



Contact

Prof. Dr. Michael Schnegg
University of Hamburg
Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Edmund-Siemers-Alle 1 (West)
20146 Hamburg
Germany

Phone: +49 40 42838 7915
Fax: +49 40 42838 6288
 michael.schnegg@uni-hamburg.de
Dr. Michael Pröpper
University of Hamburg
Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Edmund-Siemers-Alle 1 (West)
20146 Hamburg
Germany

Phone: +49 40 42838 3850
Fax: +49 40 42838 6288
Cellphone (Namibia): +264 81 2589191
 michael.proepper@uni-hamburg.de

Participants


Ongoing Research

Introduction

This anthropological project aims to understand how local resource users in the Okavango basin perceive, valuate and regulate Ecosystem Services (ESS). We will assess resource uses from an actors’ point of view, to provide a deep understanding of local action and the way in which decisions are embedded in a broader social and cultural context.

Local valuation as well as formal and informal institutions influence and structure the preferences according to which resources are allocated. Therefore it is necessary to examine resource use from a holistic perspective, providing a broad understanding of the cultural context in which resource use is imbedded.


Objectives

To provide these perspectives, the research advances in five steps marking the interlinked tasks of the Subproject.

Firstly we determine which services nature provides to the local users in their own cultural terms (Task 1). Exploring this local ecological knowledge is crucial as it constitutes the basis for the valuation of the environment. Following, we investigate how the Okavango residents value their acknowledged material and non-material ESS (Task 2).

In our third task we will show how individuals and households decide which natural resources to utilize. In this task we will have to take a look not only at the local valuation of the resources, but also at the cultural, social, political and economic context, which structures the actors’ decisions. This may include population growth and integration in the market economies, governmental and non-governmental institutions as well as religious and gender issues.

Building on the knowledge gained from the above tasks we will try to understand how actors negotiate institutional regimes at the community level to regulate ESS and which of these regimes allows for a sustainable and just management and distribution of resources.


Methods

By making use of the wide canon of anthropological methods, including qualitative data acquisition (e.g. techniques from cognitive anthropology), as well as quantitative analysis (e.g. of household consumption), and approaches such as the social network analysis, we will accumulate broad information on different scopes of resource use.

Through a consistent research design we aim to compare three communities in Angola, Namibia and Botswana, which will be studied intensively through ethnographic fieldwork. However, site and country specific peculiarities of land use will require our special attention, so that differences in land use strategies can be contextualised in terms of these peculiarities (e.g. advanced human impact on the environment in Namibia).

Complementary to these three in-depth case studies, we will design a regional level comparison of 20 communities to describe strategies of resource management in a broad area.


The team

All three anthropological case studies will be conducted by mixed teams of experienced researchers and MA students including:

  • Dr. Samuel Aco
  • Otto Adriano
  • Dr. des Joao Baptista
  • Felix Haupts
  • Björn Herold
  • Dr. Michael Pröpper
  • Robin Rieprich
  • Prof. Dr. Cristina Rodrigues

Participation and Interaction

In order to obtain detailed insights from the local actor’s point of view, it is necessary to ensure active participation of the Okavango locals. This will include the organisation of workshops with local and regional level representatives to guide the research according to their needs.
To contribute to the implementation of the projects research results, we will be strongly involved in the development of a para-ecologist programme for Angola and Botswana (which already exists for Namibia). Furthermore, we aim to strengthen local capacities by training students from all three countries involved and creating awareness and empowerment products (e.g. film, brochures).



Photo gallery


Photo
Elephant protection at Seronga, Botswana
© Michael Pröpper
Photo
Inside a bar in Kavango, Namibia
© Michael Pröpper
Photo
Charcoal business, Angola
© Michael Pröpper
Photo
Aesthetic values of Ecosystem Services Caiundo, Angola
© Michael Pröpper
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Waste around Caiundo, Angola
© Michael Pröpper
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Multi-purpose utilization of river water close to Menongue, Angola
© Michael Pröpper
Photo
Small game hunting south of Chitembo, Angola
© Michael Pröpper