Norhed improving the governance and economics of protected areas

Project Goal

The project’s goal is to establish a Southern African community of practice in pro-poor natural resource governance, education, research and application in regional higher education institutions. The project will develop partnerships between scholars, practitioners, communities and policy makers to transform economic and political institutions so that ecosystem values are translated into sustainable land use practices and poverty reduction.

General information

Main partner: Copperbelt University, Zambia
Noragric project coordinator: Dr. Thor S. Larsen
Noragric project management: Joanna Boddens-Hosang
Other Noragric/NMBU staff involved: Prof. Pål Vedeld, Prof. Arild Vatn, Prof. Espen Sjaastad, Prof. Erik Gomez-Baggethun, Prof. Arild Angelsen (School of Economics and Business). From the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources/University of Iceland: Dr. Jon Geir Petursson.
Other partners: Stellenbosch University, South Africa; Southern African Wildlife College, South Africa.

Funded by: NORHED Programme, Norad
Project period: 2013-2019 (application for cost extension 2020 pending)
Other NORHED projects at NMBU

Project description

The project addresses the problem that Africa is transforming into an economic tiger but, in this process, common pooled wild resources and ecosystem services are being exploited in an unsustainable manner, without generating rural economic growth and poverty reduction. The project will enable two experienced universities (NMBU/Noragric and the School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University, South Africa) to work with Copperbelt University (CBU) in Zambia and the SADC-registered Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) in an innovative partnership that links research to practice and training with three key outputs:

  1. The development of staff and integrative research capacity in economics, governance and management of complex landscapes through team-based trans-disciplinary research and training of 8 PhD students and at least 4 Master students (2 from CBU and 2 from SAWC). 8 PhD students have taken a semester at NMBU; two in 2016; four in 2017; and two in 2018.
  2. Incorporation of pro-poor economics, governance and stakeholder management skills for a new generation of professionals in new Master’s programmes at CBU and SAWC
  3. Innovative stakeholder process that co-create scientific and civic knowledge and evidence-based solutions in large landscapes where poverty reduction and conservation are important.

Integration of research, practice and training will be facilitated by a performance-orientated research epistemology that addresses real problems through evidence based trans-disciplinary partnerships with major donor-funded projects, especially UNDP/GEF.

This project has multiple reinforcing objectives:

  • Promotion of a research epistemology, capacity and culture that addresses real problems of conservation and development through the integrated co-creation of knowledge without losing academic legitimacy (i.e. Trans-disciplinary Research)
  • Integrating scholarship into praxis through a rigorous process of evidence-based adaptive management and stakeholder participation
  • Integrating PhD research into curriculum development at multiple levels that targets important knowledge and training gaps, targeting mid-level professionals with new skills in pro-poor economic management and governance of wild resources and ecosystem services
  • The development of a modular professional Masters curriculum that specifically develops the capacity of mid-level scholar practitioners in government agencies, NGOs and the private sector.


Participants at the annual technical meeting, 14 - 18 April 2015, Nsobe, Zambia.
Copperbelt University, Zambia.
Workshop at Timbavati, South Africa
Joanna Boddens-Hosang
Southern Africa Wildlife College bus
Joanna Boddens-Hosang





Published 17. December 2013 - 12:00 - Updated 21. May 2019 - 13:44