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Special Collection

Cross Commons Governance in Southern Africa

Collection launched: 26 Feb 2020
This special collection presents several papers generated under the EU-funded ‘Cross Sectoral Commons Governance in Southern Africa’ (CROSCOG) project. In earlier generations, especially during the pre-colonial periods, most Southern African societies developed quite effective indigenous institutions for the management of entire landscapes and their component ecosystems, when this was in their interest. Few of these integrated Southern African systems are effective today as they have gone through massive changes, for example due to colonial influences, the increased role of the market and/or conflicts over use and access to natural resources. Meanwhile, most efforts to rebuild or affirm (the management of) the commons through various initiatives, have been specific to certain resources or localised areas. Conversely, the smaller number of ecosystem-wide land use planning initiatives that sought to enhance overall environmental health have been dominated by technical, anti-political approaches that failed to understood the differential roles of resources in the spectrum of local livelihoods, and failed to achieve the required broader reinforcement of local governance. This special collection explore opportunities and challenges with respect to integrating scale – landscapes, ecosystems, and governing systems – into the local commons.