Contrasting the great expanses of Africa to India, one is immediately struck by the emptiness of the former or perhaps the emptiness of the latter. Yet, it is within these sparsely populated settings that some of the greatest injustices and threats to the local communities are presented. Land tenure statuses are greatly contested. The studies – particularly in Kenya and Tanzania look specifically at the Maasai – but more than that – there is a need to juxtapose their story among a larger story of land rights to all groups and the power dynamics and policies that have defined them.
For the Maasai, wildlife conservation as well as tourism – and now, industrial agriculture – have threatened their way of living and today there are advocates on the one hand of community development (or poverty reduction) and others in the camp of wildlife conservation with very different suggestions to land use and where policies have been increasingly polarized in either direction. Many consensus approaches have been suggested – including Conservation with development, integrated conservation and development projects, Community based conservation and community based natural resource management – among others. Many of these policies have failed to impress either of these camps – with the battle between conservation and development as contentious as ever.
No two sites have the same land characteristic and as a result, groups may bear disproportionally based on their access to immediate resources