Third, cities may be conceived of as the location and symbol of the statutory law system which competes with the traditional one; often, their combination does not effectively lead to the sustainable management of resources. As a result, the stigmatisation of smallholders and rural citizens regarding overharvesting and degradation increases. Clearly, traditional rules are being put to the test by the changes in the institutional and economic context, but how exactly this takes place requires more research. The customary system seems bound to change – but must it disappear?

Stéphanie Domptail is senior scientist at the Institute for Agricultural Policy and Market Research at the University of Giessen, Germany.

Ernst-August Nuppenau holds the Chair for Agricultural and Environmental Policy at the University of Giessen, Germany.
Contact: Stephanie.Domptail(at)

Further reading:

Website of The Future Okavango project