…of Environmental Goods and Services in North-Eastern Namibia
Understanding human-nature relationships and their contribution to managing socio- ecological systems remains a global challenge. One of the reasons is the lack of integrated assessments of how nature is valued across different knowledge systems.The valuation of nature is dominated by economic values, and poorly reflects multiple values from different knowledge systems. Values from traditional knowledge systems are underrepresented despite being significant as people's interaction with nature is guided by socio-cultural systems. This study integrates two interdisciplinary methodological approaches, namely photovoice to generate values from a sociocultural perspective, and contingent valuation method to generate values from an economic perspective. The study was conducted in northeastern Namibia where rural societies are faced with the challenges of being integrated into a market economy and undergoing changes related to the commodification of natural resources, mainly the forest which is under the community forest regime, and products sold through permits system. The main question of the study is how rural societies value nature and how are values affected by the commodification process? The results highlight that each method, though being from different ontologies, derives complementing values providing insights of people's relationship with nature. Socio-cultural values are multidimensional and reflect shared importance like identity, sense of belonging, and sacredness, but also livelihood development which is a social obligation interlinked to values from an economic perspective. The study provides evidence that the commodification of nature is causing consequences like social inequity, alienation from nature, and privatization of natural resources as competition for products and markets increases. The issues shared are happening due to power and price disparities, as a result of poor governance including the absent role of traditional institutions and practices. The book suggests that if management is not improved, commodification can potentially suppress shared values, and hinder people to manage their socio-ecological systems upon which depend for livelihood and socio-cultural values.
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Farming and Rural Systems Economics, Vol. 171ISBN 978-3-8236-1802-72022; 162pp., 4 colour pages; 21 x 14,8 cm; paper
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