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THE POLITICAL ECOLOGY OF ‘INCURSIONS’: LIVESTOCK, PROTECTED AREAS AND SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS IN THE MARA REGION OF KENYA

  • Bilal Butt
Abstract

Across the world, the presence of domestic animals in protected areas (PAs) is considered an ‘incursion’ that threatens the economic and ecological viability of these areas. Dominant narratives about incursions inaccurately describe the relationships between people and PAs because they lack adequate contextualization. In this paper, I rely on a political-ecological framework to argue for an alternative narrative. Through a case study from a PA in southern Kenya, I demonstrate how incursions are instead modern co-productions that arise from the intersections between changing political geographies of resource control and variable animal geographies of resource utilization – thus clarifying a long-standing debate about the presence of domestic animals in PAs. I rely on direct empirical and supporting evidence from place-based studies to illustrate the spatial and temporal differences in resource access strategies of wildlife and livestock within and outside the PA. I contrast these against changing land tenure and resource management policies to highlight how livestock movements into PAs are patterned in ways that reflect the changing nature of PA management, the material conditions of the landscape, and the agency of animals. Through these investigations, this paper provides a more accurate and nuanced explanation for livestock movements into PAs.

Partout dans le monde, la présence d'animaux domestiques dans les zones protégées (ZP) est considérée comme une « incursion » qui menace la viabilité économique et écologique de ces zones. Les récits dominants sur les incursions décrivent de manière inexacte les relations entre les populations et les ZP par manque de contextualisation adéquate. Dans cet article, l'auteur s'appuie sur un cadre politico-écologique pour faire valoir un autre récit. À travers l’étude de cas d'une ZP dans le sud du Kenya, l'auteur démontre que les incursions sont plutôt des coproductions modernes résultant des intersections entre des géographies politiques changeantes de contrôle des ressources et des géographies animales variables d'utilisation des ressources, clarifiant par là-même un débat de longue date sur la présence d'animaux domestiques dans les ZP. Il s'appuie sur des éléments probants empiriques directs tirés d’études sur place pour illustrer les différences spatio-temporelles de stratégies d'accès aux ressources de la faune et du bétail à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de la ZP. Il les met en contraste avec les politiques changeantes en matière de foncier et de gestion des ressources pour souligner que les schémas de mouvements de bétail vers les ZP reflètent la nature changeante de la gestion des ZP, des conditions matérielles du paysage et de l'action des animaux. À travers ces études, l'article fournit une explication plus exacte et nuancée des mouvements de bétail vers les ZP.

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