Integrated national park planning to support conservation in British Africa: Lessons from the Luangwa River Valley, Zambia
Changes in the landscape mosaic are natural, and are ideally associated with fluid and ecologically balanced processes (Forman 1994). Human induced transformations of wilderness landscapes are often conducted to support the clearing of agricultural land and other human dominated land uses. These processes, fueled by rising populations and demands for land, are associated with unbalanced, or unsustainable land use practices which most often result in the fragmentation of natural wildlife habitats (Robinson 1996, p. 111). Declines in wildlife resources are often reflected by overall decreases in the availability of wildlife resources, or in a decrease in the number of species. Either of these processes may serve as indicators of decreased levels of biodiversity.
This research explores the roots, justifications, and threats to wildlife associated with national park planning in British Africa. The Lukusuzi National Park Region, located in Zambia's Luangwa River Valley, serves as a case study for the application of the research, through an assessment of three associated areas: (1) The adoption and implementation of national park policies, as examined through an historical assessment, which traces the national park model from the United States to England to British Africa; (2) The identification of physical evidence in the landscape, which is used as an indicator of environmental health in and around selected national park lands (supported by Landsat TM), and; (3) An assessment of the founding principles of landscape ecology and environmental planning, and the potential application of these principles to support conservation initiatives in British Africa.
A synthesis of findings from the three themes resulted in the development of an integrated conservation plan, respecting historical and cultural links to the environment; physical landscape characteristics; and ecological and environmental principles. This research offers a unique approach to conservation planning in Africa, by integrating local knowledge collected through empirical observations 'on the ground' with scientific knowledge, collected and processed with modern planning tools (including satellite remote sensing and GIS). The integration of local participation in the management of conservation areas is identified as an integral part of a larger conservation strategy.
Area planning & development;
0999: Area planning & development