This paper uses property as a lens of analysis to examine the transformation of Waza National Park in Northern Cameroon. The paper seeks to understand why local residents called for better guarding of the park, comments which go against much of the literature critical of exclusionary conservation methods. The paper first looks at the creation of this protected area as an example of primitive accumulation. Considering the fact that not all people were excluded from this area in the same way, the paper shows how certain groups of people were able to obtain and/or maintain access to natural resources within this protected area through negotiation, identity and stealth. The paper then traces the ‘post-primitive accumulation story,’ showing that (1.) wiping away local management and property rights in this space (via acts of primitive accumulation) and by replacing them with a declaration of absolute government ownership which was strictly (and sometimes violently) enforced for over 60 years and then (2.) essentially abandoning management in the park (by government agencies and NGOs), an open access situation was created in this space. The paper then shows the material effects of this open access space and considers the broader implications of this case study arguing that conservation planners must consider both the short- and long-term implications of their actions.
Kelly, A. LDPI Working Paper 21. Property and Negotiation in Waza National Park. The Land Deal Politics Initiative, (2013) 29 pp.