Discourses on landscape governance and transfrontier conservation areas: converging, diverging and evolving discourses with geographic contextual nuances

Ephraim Mpofu, Verena Radinger-Peer, Walter Musakwa, Marianne Penker, Katharina Gugerell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs) are regarded as crucial instruments for biodiversity conservation as they connect landscapes across country borders. The TFCA framework is built on multi-actor, multi-sector and multi-level negotiations, a concept that incorporates principles of landscape governance (LG). This article is driven by our interest in the governance of transfrontier landscapes such as the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. The study aims to explore the narratives of two academic discourses of TFCA and LG. The study uses a bibliometric analysis and systematic review based on PRISMA to determine (i) to which degree the two discourses share commonalities in their narratives and take each other into account (ii) how the discourses have developed between 1998 and 2022 (iii) the geographical distribution of publications on the two discourses. Our results identified six clusters which include: African Wildlife Conservation, Governance for Biodiversity Conservation, TFCA Wildlife Connectivity, Policies and Strategies, Political Ecology, and Management of Protected Areas. The discourses depict commonalities attributed to conservation, power and actor roles. However, LG is more governance-oriented while TFCA is more skewed towards wildlife management. The TFCA discourse is a more Southern African-centred debate whilst the LG debate is more rooted in the global North resulting from unique challenges, priorities, and approaches to landscape management. Moreover, a shift from a conservation-centred approach to a more holistic social-ecological system approach is evident. By leveraging on LG and TFCA strengths, cross-fertilization can foster meaningful cross-collaborations in managing different landscapes through dialogue, knowledge sharing, and identifying common goals, challenges and opportunities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4597-4626
Number of pages30
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Landscape governance
  • Natural resources management
  • Peace parks
  • Protected areas
  • Transfrontier conservation areas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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