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An Effective Tool

Co-management of nature reserves can prevent conflicts between various groups

Freiburg, Sep 11, 2018

An Effective Tool

Photo: Ophelia Soliku

Co-management of nature reserves is a recognized means of managing existing conflicts between various interest groups. Ophelia Soliku from the Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy at the University of Freiburg and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schraml from the Forest Research Institute Baden-Wuerttemberg now also show in a study that co-management can contribute to mitigating conflicts between various interest groups and preventing escalation. Soliku and Schraml have published their results in Oryx – The International Journal of Conservation.

In their study the researchers focused on the Mole National Park in Ghana, the largest and oldest national park in the country. After conflict arose between various groups here, the decision was taken in 2000 to manage the wild animals collectively with the residents of the park. Since then, the government has involved the local population in the administration of the protected area.

For their study, Soliku and Schraml conducted 22 interviews with people in charge of the park, opinion leaders and local government representatives. They also led 26 focus groups made up of farmers, hunters and representatives of the executive of the wild animal management program, who they selected from ten of the 33 communities that live around the park.

The researchers’ results indicate that co-management can help to mitigate conflicts or prevent escalation, if the opposing parties are involved in transparent negotiating and mediating processes or receive economic incentives. Conflicts proved to be hard to resolve if the dialogue between the opposing parties was broken off. In this case, positions are entrenched, and the participants become unwilling to make compromises with regard to their values and interests.


Original publication:
Ophelia Soliku, Ulrich Schraml (2018): From Conflict to collaboration: the contribution of co-management in mitigating conflicts in Mole National Park, Ghana. In: Oryx. DOI:


Ophelia Soliku
Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy
University of Freiburg
Tel.: +49 761 203-3721