Essay

Koedoe: African Protected Area Conservation and Science – A retrospection: 1958 to 2018

Jane Carruthers, Llewellyn C. Foxcroft
Koedoe | Vol 61, No 1 | a1556 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v61i1.1556 | © 2019 Jane Carruthers, Llewellyn C. Foxcroft | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 September 2018 | Published: 08 April 2019

About the author(s)

Jane Carruthers, Department of History, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa; and, Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Llewellyn C. Foxcroft, Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa; and, Conservation Services, South African National Parks, Skukuza, South Africa


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Abstract

In 2018, Koedoe celebrated an unbroken publication record of 60 years. From uncertain beginnings in 1958, it is now a mature and important internationally recognised scientific journal focussing on conservation and science in national parks in South Africa and beyond into the African continent. After an overview of the emergence of national parks in the 20th century, this retrospective essay reflects on Koedoe’s long and significant contribution to the field of national parks research and management. We identify and make easily available some of the seminal and influential articles that have appeared in the journal over this long time span. Principally relating to matters in national parks in South Africa, these articles (some coming from special issues of Koedoe) have been chosen for their variety as well as for the broader perspectives they open into the longer trajectory of national park conservation and management. Articles illustrate the evolution of paradigms from protectionist and species centric, to ecosystem focus, to complex socio-ecological systems and adaptive management. Conservationists, scientists and managers alike will benefit from an understanding of the transformations in their field over six decades together with appreciating the importance and usefulness of unpacking the intellectual journey of national park science in order to contextualise and enrich – even encourage and direct – present and future research.

Conservation implications: The articles included in this essay produced important information that informed and guided later research. Introducing these contributions to a fresh audience we hope will also tempt readers to consult other back issues of this journal, which will benefit conservation by providing an understanding of the long-term transformations in the field.

 


Keywords

biodiversity conservation; conservation journals; conservation science; ecology; environmental history; environmental science; South African National Parks

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