Challenges the broad vision of Africa's environment, history and society which drives conservation across the continent. Brockington argues that this vision has been harmful, unjust and unneccessary in its effects on people at the Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania.
Introduction: Mkomazi - HISTORIES The history of the plains - 'We just left it': contest over the plains up to 1953 - The history of the reserve - ENVIRONMENTS Environmental degradation - Biodiversity - PEOPLE Livelihoods - Regional conequences - Benefits & resistance - A desert strange
'He discusses the myth of an African wilderness that is perpetuated in a conservation discourse which is both ahistorical and depoliticised. Taken out of its historical context, Mkomazi is an area of recent occupation and utilisation. Taken out of its political context, it is deserving of conservation for posterity - a value-laden statement which connotes a hidden value for Tanzanians, many of them on the brink of destitution. But where does that leave us? Fortress conservation deprives people of previous existing rights and denies, in the face of no viable alternatives, their right to a livelihood. Community conservation offers low levels of income per capita relative to existing land usage when the numbers of people occupying areas contiguous with the reserve are too large for the paltry sums derived from tourism to have any significant impact on the levels of poverty. ... 'This is a book well worth reading. It covers a lot of very interesting material, ranging from a consideration of conservation as both ideology and practice (Chapter 1) and of "fortress" and community conservation (Chapter 6) to a detailed study of Mkomazi and its people and the history of the reserve, its land alienation and evictions and their impact on livelihoods.' - Dan Taylor in Development Policy Review 'This is a timely and useful contribution to the literature and the political debate around conservation ideology...Fortress Conservation is essentially an analysis of the clash between Western-driven agendas for conservation in Africa and human rights to land and resources, using Mkomazi Game Reserve as a case study...He gives a welcome space to African voices. He links the claims of fortress conservation's advocates to a broader vision of Africa's environment, history and people that drives conservation across the continent, central to which is the belief that humans harm the environment. This vision is dangerous, partly because "threatened wildernesses will be continually saved, recreated and restored" to satisfy the whims of powerful interest groups, and the degradation argument does not hold water. Fortress conservation works because the myths its supporters promote are powerful, but it fails to protect many big game populations and cannot survive long-term without the support of local peoples...one hopes this little expose will make certain people in LA, London and Tanzania pause for thought.' - Lotte Hughes in African Affairs 'Dan Brockington's book provides an exceptionally rich and dense case study of a single reserve in Tanzania, Mkomazi, and the case itself illuminates much broader debates about the politics of protected area management across Africa. Furthermore, this book provides an excellent deconstruction of the whole notion of "fortress conservation", and skilfully demonstrates its continuing power in the face of more recent works (and apparent commitment from conservation organisations) to community based conservation. ...In sum, Fortress Conservation provides a clear analysis of the debate on landscape as a cultural product, through a carefully researched case study of Mkomazi game reserve in Tanzania. It is an excellent and thoroughly readable book that powerfully demonstrates the continuing...importance of the preservation narrative in the environmental politics of Africa.' - Rosaleen Duffy in Journal of Modern African Studies