>Way Forward: Linking Sustainability and Cultural Heritage Management

Posted: March 4, 2011 in Uncategorized


Tourism is one main medium through which a sense of place and elements of human–environment interactions are expressed in Botswana. Eco-tourism in particular advocates responsible tourism and thus provides a sustainable platform for expression of cultural heritage elements. In general, tourism depends on authentic cultural elements to communicate the ‘power of place’ (English Heritage, 2000; Carman and Keitumetse, 2005). Monitoring of these activities is important in order to achieve sustainable cultural tourism.

In conservation science, current trends of resource monitoring are gradually shifting towards a process that establishes limits of acceptable change (Stankey et al., 1985; Table4 below) associated with the use of a particular resource by inventorying key values and characteristics of a recreational resource or place and establishing the maximum extent to which they may change before the core of their importance is degraded to an unacceptable level (Stankey et al., 1985). The process constitutes nine key steps (Stankey et al., 1985) that can be applied in the management of cultural heritage resources as a step towards achieving sustainability. Table4 outlines opportunities for a modified implementation of the process in cultural heritage resource management.

Table 4. process (Stankey et al., 1985) and potential application in the field of cultural heritage management

Limits of acceptable change (LAC) process (Stankey et al., 1985)

Strategic implementation in cultural heritage resource management

i.Identification of area concerns and issues

identify issues relating to conservation of locations, features, values relating to cultural heritage resources such as archaeological sites, historical monuments, indigenous knowledge, folklore and folk-life, traditional practices and rituals associated with protected areas

Defineii. opportunity classes (sub-units) per identified brand

three general class categories can include authentic, semi-authentic and reconstructed/artificial heritage

Selectiii. indicators of resource and social conditions

conditions of tangible heritage (monuments, sites, cultural objects, cultural landscapes) and intangible heritage (sacred sites, traditional practices, procedures)

iv.Inventory existing resource and social condition (quantifiable manner)

inventory conditions for selected tangible and intangible heritage identified in step 3

Determinev. costs & benefits of each opportunity area

e.g. benefits of superimposing and juxtaposing cultural heritage resources on natural resources for tourism product diversification – e.g. quantify costs associated with diversified tourism package.

Specify(vi). standards for resource and social indicators

assign highly specific measures to indicators – e.g. only two vehicles per day to visit authentic archaeological site X, a sacred site to be toured only once at a specified time of the year etc

Identify(vii). management actions for each alternative

e.g. in reference to (vi), authentic archaeological site could be viewed from an elevated trail as opposed to ground walking to reduce impacts on ground resources as well as restricting number of visits per day

Evaluation and selection of a preferred alternative(viii).

for Botswana alternatives could include (i) setting up community museums at periphery of parks and game reserves, (ii) set-up of community interpretation centres in vicinity of protected area and (iii) in situ excavations exhibits for use by both communities and tourists; identification of indigenous walking trails within protected areas

(ix).Implement actions and monitor conditions

systematic documentation and record of changes in identified variables by resident/local communities and other stakeholders

Some archaeologists and natural resource managers have embarked on indigenous knowledge from communities to locate sites in Mozambique (Sinclair, 2004; Convery, 2006). Implementation of sustainable development principles provides a potential to improve these elementary initiatives. In addition such approaches require initial definitions of concepts of ‘community’ (Keitumetse, 2006) and initial establishment of potential tourism impacts (Burns, 1995) as well as considering elements of gender representation (Conkey and Gero, 1991; Kent, 1998; Sorensen, 2000; Engelstad, 2000) with a general aim of achieving meaningful community participation.


Sustainable development and cultural heritage management in Botswana: towards sustainable communities

Conceptual Analysis
Way Forward


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