Etosha Pan to the Skeleton Coast: Conservation Histories, Policies and Practices in North-west Namibia - cover image


Sian Sullivan; Ute Dieckmann; Selma Lendelvo. Copyright of individual chapters are maintained by the chapter author(s).




  • English


  • RNK
  • RND
  • RNF
  • 1HFMN


  • RNK
  • RND
  • RNF
  • 1HFM
  • 1HFMN


  • NAT011000
  • POL044000
  • SCI026000


  • conservation
  • Etosha-Kunene, Namibia
  • biodiversity
  • historical injustices
  • environmental policy
  • community-based natural resource management (CBNRM)

    Etosha Pan to the Skeleton Coast

    Conservation Histories, Policies and Practices in North-west Namibia

    Etosha Pan to the Skeleton Coast examines the conservation histories and concerns of one of southern Africa’s most iconic conservation regions: the variously connected ‘Etosha-Kunene’ areas of north-central and north-west Namibia. This cross-disciplinary volume brings together contributions from a Namibian and international group of scholars and conservation practitioners, working on topics ranging from colonial histories to water management, perceptions of ‘wildlife’ and the politics of belonging. Together, these essays confront a critical question: how can the conservation of biodiversity-rich landscapes be reconciled with historical injustices of social exclusion and marginalisation?

    The book is organised in five parts: the first provides a historical backdrop for the book’s detailed case studies, focusing on environmental and conservation policy and legislation; the second investigates post-Independence approaches to conservation; the third focuses on ‘Etosha-Kunene’ ecologies and related management issues; the fourth explores how historical circumstances shape present conservation and cultural landscapes; and the fifth addresses contemporary complexities of lion conservation and community-based natural resource management (CBNRM).

    By offering a comprehensive overview of evolving conservation boundaries, policies and practices in the region, this timely volume paves the way for the future design of conservation initiatives that more fully consider and integrate historical and cultural knowledge and diversity. Essential reading for conservation practitioners, policymakers, and academic researchers alike, this volume also serves as a valuable resource for university students interested in conservation studies and histories of conservation.


    Sian Sullivan

    Professor of Environment and Culture at Bath Spa University

    Sian Sullivan is Professor of Environment and Culture at Bath Spa University. She is interested in discourses and practices of difference and exclusion in relation to ecology and conservation. She has carried out long-term research on conservation, colonialism, and culture in Namibia ( and, and also engages critically with the financialisation of nature (see She has co-edited Political Ecology: Science, Myth and Power (2000), Contributions to Law, Philosophy and Ecology: Exploring Re-embodiments (2016), Valuing Development, Environment and Conservation: Creating Values that Matter (2018), and Negotiating Climate Change in Crisis (2021).

    Ute Dieckmann

    Anthropologist at University of Cologne

    Ute Dieckmann is an anthropologist at the University of Cologne and currently German Principal Investigator for Etosha-Kunene Histories (, supported by the German Research Foundation and the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. She has carried out long-term research in Namibia on colonialism, nature conservation and indigeneity. For many years, she has worked at the Legal Assistance Centre in Windhoek, doing research with and advocacy for marginalised and indigenous communities in Namibia and was coordinator of the Xoms |Omis Project ( She has edited Mapping the Unmappable? Cartographic Explorations with Indigenous Peoples in Africa (2021) and co-edited Scraping the Pot? San in Namibia Two Decades After Independence (2014).

    Selma Lendelvo

    Associate Research Professor in Life Sciences, and currently the Director for the Centre for Grants Management and Resource Mobilization at University of Namibia

    Selma Lendelvo is an associate research professor in life sciences, and currently the Director for the Centre for Grants Management and Resource Mobilization at the University of Namibia (UNAM) with a research and project management experience spanning over 20 years. Her work and publications have mainly been on community-based natural resources management and rural development including cross-cutting aspects such as gender and climate change. Selma also works closely with the government and other practitioners on the ground to strengthen natural resources management, conservation and community development in Namibia and beyond. She serves on the Namibia National Committee for the Rio Conventions, the Namibian Nature Conservation Board and the Namibia Association for CBNRM Support organisations (NACSO). Her collaborations with regional and international partners have been instrumental in shaping and advancing her research and professional career.