Partnerships for wildlife protection and their sustainability outcomes: A literature review

Christine Noe, Adriana Budeanu, Emmanuel Sulle, Mette Fog Olwig, Dan Brockington, Ruth John

Research output: Working paperResearch


The rhetoric of a ‘win-win-win’ situation – which represents simultaneous achievement of economic growth, environmental protection and social development – is central to the emergence of community-based wildlife protection efforts that involve new partnerships between actors such as local communities, businesses and government agencies. The win-win rhetoric furthers the logic that the more partners, the more wins – yet the current knowledge base lacks clear criteria for evaluating partnerships. This working paper uses political ecology as a conceptual lens to propose such criteria. We suggest examining partnerships not only based on their complexity, but also how they are formed and gain legitimacy in different contexts and how various partnership configurations engender particular kinds of ecological and socio-economic outcomes. Based on a review of the literature about partnerships and their impacts, and drawing on insights from Tanzania’s wildlife sector, we establish three groups of literature that emphasize the benefits of partnerships: one focusing on landscape conservation, another on governance reforms and the last on tourism related businesses. In these three groups of literature, partnerships are claimed to improve the effectiveness of biodiversity governance by securing land, facilitating local developments and by creating business links. Building on critiques from political ecology we conclude by questioning this win-win-win rhetoric arguing that partnerships only lead to wins for specific actors thereby indirectly aggravating local power struggles. They do so by supporting rent seeking and the rise of local elites while simultaneously concealing the marginalization of other actors and thereby effectively contributing to the continued loss of local land rights.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
PublisherNepsus Working Paper
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-93571-00-6
Publication statusPublished - 2017
SeriesNEPSUS Working Paper Series


  • Partnerships
  • Wildlife
  • Community-based conservation and sustainability

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