Local perceptions of land-use change: Using participatory art to reveal direct and indirect socioenvironmental effects of land acquisitions in Kilombero Valley, Tanzania

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Abstract

In this study, we combine conventional qualitative approaches with a more novel approach, participatory art, to explore local perceptions of land-use change and future aspirations for development in two communities in Kilombero Valley, Tanzania. We concentrate on the effects of large-scale land acquisitions on people and the environment in an ecologically important area. Leasing of land to foreign agribusinesses for the production of timber, food, and fuel crops has created a politically charged debate with strong ideologies on both sides, and people directly impacted are not the ones driving the debate. Local farmers, fishermen, and pastoralists were cued about landscape and livelihood changes through focus-group discussions, interviews, and by cocreating paintings of the past, present, and future. Findings reveal that art can make a valuable methodological contribution for understanding and communicating complex interactions between drivers of change and their socioenvironmental impacts, and for exploring desirable future visions.

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  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Number of pages12
JournalEcology and Society
Volume22
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes