Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources
The Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) is a Zimbabwean community-based natural resource management programme. It is one of the first programs to consider wildlife as renewable natural resources, while addressing the allocation of its ownership to indigenous peoples in and around conservation protected areas.
United States involvement
The US federal government has invested resources in CAMPFIRE, principally through USAID. By 1997, $7 million had been donated to the programme. This support created controversy in US politics. CAMPFIRE leadership lobbied in favor of the legalization of the sustainable consumptive use of endangered species as a strategy to increase the value of their remaining populations. This position clashed with the majority preservationist, anti-hunting public sentiment in the US as well as national and international law, in particular CITES. By 2014 the US stopped the importation of elephants into the US, halting much of the hunting carried out in CAMPFIRE communities by paying US citizens and apparently putting the program at risk.
During 1989–2001, CAMPFIRE generated over US$20 million of transfers to the participating communities, 89% of which came from sport hunting. The scale of benefits varied greatly across districts, wards and households. Twelve of the 37 districts with authority to market wildlife produced 97% of all CAMPFIRE revenues, reflecting the variability in wildlife resources and local institutional arrangements. The programme has been widely emulated in southern and eastern Africa. It has been estimated by the World Wildlife Fund that households participating in CAMPFIRE increased their incomes by 15-25%. Between 1989 and 2006 the project generated US$30 million, of which approximately 52 percent was distributed to local communities to promote rural development projects. No location has benefited more substantially than the Masoka ward, which has used its revenue to improve the livelihoods of its rural residents by building a four-block primary school, a two-ward clinic, a grinding mill, and two hand-pumped boreholes, to name but a few. In addition, environmental benefits have been witnessed since CAMPFIRE's inception; elephant numbers have increased, buffalo numbers are either stable or witnessing a slight decrease, and habitat loss has diminished, and in certain regions, even reversed. CAMPFIRE leadership also chose to invest communal development funds from tourism revenue to build a beer hall for local residents.
CAMPFIRE was effective by political events in Zimbabwe and a significant decline in tourism in the 2000s. It seems to have reemerged subsequently and maintains an active website. Hunting for cash continued. The 2014 ban in importation of elephant parts into the US has led to a significant decline in revenues from hunting parties.
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