A new paradigm for development among Africa's pastoral populations has been recently proposed. It links the conservation of natural resources with human development. In this paper we discuss this new paradigm, and examine the impact of this dual policy on the subsistence economy and nutrition of the Maasai living in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania, a protected area which has been managed under the dual mandate of the environmental conservation and pastoral development for over thirty years. With respect to the Ngorongoro situation, we argue that although the environment has been protected, the Ngorongoro Maasai economy is in a serious state of decline, that the percentage of people unable to support themselves by pastoralism is increasing, and that there is significant evidence of malnutrition in the human population. We further argue that the situation of the Ngorongoro Maasai is not unique, and that the trends seen in the present study are becoming increasingly more common throughout the pastoral regions of East Africa. We conclude by bringing the discussion back to the paradigm of linking conservation and development and stress the importance of viewing a protected area within the regional context within which it is situated, and the danger of designing policy based on a stereotypical image of a pastoral population.

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