Effects of Conservation-induced Displacement on the Bacha of Southwest Ethiopia
AbstractThis paper examines the impact of conservation-induced displacement on the Bacha community resulting from the establishment of Chebera-Chuchura National Park in Konta Special Woreda, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR). It attempts to reconstruct the customary functions that the forestland had played for the livelihoods of the Bacha community and its role in cementing reciprocal relations among different social groups in pre-eviction contexts. The study employed a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research tools including in-depth interviews, key informant interviews, focus group discussions, field observations and household survey. Michael Cernea’s analytical framework to assess the risks associated with displacement – Impoverishment Risk and Reconstruction (IRR) – is employed to see the multifaceted aspects of conservation-induced displacement. The findings revealed that in spite of the fact that displaced Bacha people have enjoyed greater level of access to land they suffered loss of entitlements to forest-based assets such as honey and plants of enormous medicinal value. The community also faced loss of job opportunities due to restrictions imposed on access to forestland that supported beneficial biodiversity for the livelihood of the Bacha people. Also adversely affected are inter-community relations built on reciprocal exchange of goods and services between the Bacha and neighboring farming communities. Now, the Bacha have faced the difficult task of adapting to the land-based crop farming as a new source of livelihood since they lack the necessary farming skills to make a living out of crop farming.
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