Conflict and conflict resolution in the management of Miombo woodlands: three case studies of Miombo woodlands in Zimbabwe
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The prevalence of conflict over natural resources is well documented (Anderson et. a!..,1996; Ayling & Kelly, 1997; Ortiz, 1999; Sithole & Bradley, 1995; Moyo et. aL, 1992; Murombedzi, 1992; Scoones and Cousins, 1991). Scoones and Cousins (ibid) argue that resources that are highly valued are also highly contested. However, they find, as does other common property resources (CPR) literature that such competition for resources can result in tightly controlled property rights (Bromley and Cemia, 1989). But there is lack of consensus in literature about the impacts of such contests, as others suggest that conflict result in chaos, which abates natural resources degradation (Murphree, 1991; Buckles & Rusnak in Rusnak [Ed] 1999; Little and Brokensha 1986). Social scientists like Fortmann (1995), suggest that conflicts are an important aspect of the discourse where resources, rights and obligations are negotiated. Similarly, resource economists like Becker and Ostrom (1995), suggest that conflict or such contests are part of the ongoing negotiations for resources within CPRs. For example, Ostrom proposes that when such conflicts occur, users and their officials have rapid access to low cost, local arenas to resolve conflict among users or between users and officials (Becker and Ostrom, Ibid). Nevertheless, one major weakness with the high value-high contest’ and conflict as discourse’ approach to conceptualising conflict in the use and management of natural resources is that they down play the role that the social structure plays in either fomenting or averting conflict.