The issue of tenure, the ownership or access to an area of land, has long been recognized as a critical factor for conservation, since it determines the linkages between responsibility and authority over land and natural resources, and also the incentive structures for sustainable use (Murphree, 1996). The impact of extractive industries (and thus the effect on great ape conservation) is, however, less clear at this interface. Whether or not conservation gains will outweigh other forms of land use is dependent on a number of both subsistence-based benefits (food, fuel, cultural) and those that are increasingly market-based (ecotourism, non-consumptive and consumptive use, sale of primary and secondary products, carbon, etc.), but is also linked strongly to issues of tenure and access. Ignoring ownership linked to the right to benefit, and thus to the potential for sustainable use, may lead to alternative land uses (e.g. conservation) being viewed as an unimportant economic and/or cultural component of land use. Likewise, the presence of natural resources on state-controlled land that has been demarcated for either communal use or biodiversity protection can often lead to encroachment by actors interested in more profitable uses such as logging, mining, and exploration for oil and gas.
This chapter attempts to clarify two themes related to land tenure issues around extractive industries, specifically:
their exploitation within protected areas, and
their impact on local communities.