Transfrontier Parks: A way forward or a Step Back?

Written by Rachel Overby, ESLLC 2016-2017

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-9-58-20-amShould Transfrontier Parks be replaced? In his essay, “Transfrontier Conservation Areas: Integrating Biodiversity and Poverty Alleviation in Southern Africa”, Simon Munthali addresses this question. He defines Transfrontier Parks (TFPs) as areas that encourage sustainable land use as well as the protection and maintenance of biological diversity and are controlled and managed by the state. Through an analysis of the positive and negative impacts of TFPs in Southern Africa, as well as potential solutions, Munthali argues that Transfrontier Parks can only work if several rules are followed: namely, about governmental and individual-level management.

A problem that surrounds many conservation areas (not solely in Transfrontier parks) is management effectiveness. As a park becomes bigger, more management is needed and is not always effective. Munthali voices his concern with this issue, an unfortunate situation in many Transfrontier Parks. Additionally, the formation of these parks has a negative side effect of forcibly removing Native peoples from their ancestral homelands that have been a continuous source of sustenance for centuries, as well as the relocation of groups that have already been relocated in war. Transfrontier Parks, Munthali states, have an unproductive “fortress” mentality that is overall unhealthy and unproductive for the people involved. He concludes that these can, however, help the environment and people if standards are met to satisfactory levels.


  1. Munthali, Simon M. “Transfrontier conservation areas: Integrating biodiversity and poverty alleviation in Southern Africa.” Natural resources forum. Vol. 31. No. 1. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2007.

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