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‘Complex crisis’ and the rise of collaborative natural resource governance: institutional trajectory of a wildlife governance experience in Ghana

Yeboah-Assiamah, Emmanuel, Muller, Kobus, Domfeh, Kwame Ameyaw
Environment, development and sustainability 2018 v.20 no.5 pp. 2205-2224
anthropology, governance, monkeys, viability, wildlife, Ghana
Natural resource governance is underpinned by institutions which evolve ‘circumstantially’ over time. An attempt at understanding the contemporary institutions and governance structure of a resource requires an in-depth ethnographic enquiry. Adapting a four-phase institutional analysis framework, this study discusses the evolution and adaptation of wildlife governance structures and institutions using the unique experience of Boabeng–Fiema Monkey Sanctuary in Ghana. The study adopted a transdisciplinary research approach which was participatory and consultative. The key observations are that: wildlife institutions have gone through three main evolutionary phases, a pre-collaborative phase, which was exclusively underpinned by informal institutions; a critical juncture stage, where contextual challenges led to an adaptive response; the third and contemporary phase is a collaborative governance regime, where the erstwhile informal institutions have been complemented by formal state structures and institutions to synergistically enhance viability of the wildlife species. In spite of the problems posed to community members by the monkeys (wildlife), the study still observes a cordial human–wildlife relationship. Based on the study outcomes, we derive four key conclusions which have implications for institutionalism and natural resource governance.