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Wilder futures? Rewilding and multispecies coexistence in rural Africa 
Léa Lacan (University of Cologne)
Romie Nghitevelekwa (University of Namibia)
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Luregn Lenggenhager (University of Cologne)
Format :
Streams :
Anthropology (x) Conservation & Land Governance (y)
Saturday 3 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

This panel focuses on conservation initiatives working towards “wilder” and more “convivial” futures in Africa and their social-ecological effects at the local level. It examines the changing relations between humans and other species in unequal socio-economic and political contexts.

Long Abstract:

Wilder futures are increasingly being heralded globally, with an estimated 30% of the planet’s surface set to be under conservation by 2030. Africa, the “conservation continent” and its wildlife will play an important role in meeting these targets.

In the Anthropocene, rewilding approaches to conservation receive considerable attention, redefining coexistence between humans and other species. While rewilding as a concept and practice originated in the Global North, conservation initiatives in Africa are leading to increased wildlife populations in connected ecologies that overlap with areas of human habitation, with profound implications, not only for ecosystems, but also for the people living there. This panel aims to discuss changing conservation approaches, questioning the role of rewilding narratives and practices on the African continent; and investigates their social-ecological effects at local level.

First, it examines the underlying visions of past and future natures in rewilding projects: who are the actors of rewilding – at local, national, global levels; and whose agendas are featured, whose are suppressed? What kinds of multispecies futures are envisioned and emerging? How does it differ from historical approaches to conservation in Africa? Second, this panel investigates the changing conditions of multispecies coexistence: how are local ways of living impacted by rising wildlife populations and the (re)establishment of ecological connections, e.g. through wildlife corridors? what are the challenges and opportunities prompted by rewilding for local human communities and their coexistence with other species? Finally, what is the role of the local inhabitants, local knowledge and institutions, in these rewilding futures?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Saturday 3 June, 2023, -