Oryx, Namibia (Foto: Stefan Liehr, ISOE)

ORYCS – Wildlife-based management strategies in Namibia

The ORYCS research project builds on the results of the successful Namibian-German cooperation in the OPTIMASS research project. The aim is to assess the suitability of wildlife management strategies as options for adapting land use to climate change in savanna ecosystems. The case study area is Namibia. Here, the potential of wildlife management strategies versus conventional livestock management in the municipal and commercial agricultural sector will be investigated. Against the background of climate change, the research project aims to close the knowledge gap in the design of adapted land use management options for semi-arid regions.

Research approach

ORYCS explicitly pursues an inter- and transdisciplinary research approach: scientists from the fields of wildlife ecology, vegetation dynamics, hydrogeology and social ecology cooperate with actors at local, regional and national levels, in particular private farmers, communities and public authorities. In its research, ISOE concentrates on the complex motives for action of the stakeholders as well as the existing indigenous and local knowledge and the specific knowledge demands of the various stakeholders. This approach promotes the understanding within the research team of the different perspectives of the stakeholders on the interactions between wildlife management and ecosystem services. In addition, this approach facilitates the development of strategies for appropriate management, including constructive forms of conflict regulation.


The ecosystem of the Namibian savanna is threatened by changing climatic conditions and increasing land use pressure, as can be observed worldwide in semi-arid regions. Traditional land use options based on conventional livestock farming often lead to a deterioration of pastures. Management strategies that take into account the potential of wildlife use, such as meat production and tourism, are usually seen as appropriate approaches to mitigate these negative impacts, as indigenous wildlife are better adapted to local climatic conditions. These strategies are already being pursued in some areas of Namibia, with the use of wildlife proving to be a conflictual challenge for farmers, communities and authorities. Political priorities, economic interests and additional, diverging values can lead to different types of conflicts that require specific and constructive solutions.

Project partners

  • University of Potsdam
  • Freie Universität Berlin
  • Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST)
  • University of Namibia (UNAM)

Practice partners

  • Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET)
  • Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF)
  • Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO)
  • Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU)
  • AGRA
  • Etosha Heights Game Safaris


This research project “Options for sustainable land use adaptations in savanna systems: Chances and risks of emerging wildlife-based management strategies under regional and global change (ORYCS)” is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the funding measure SPACES-II (Science Partnerships for the Assessment of Complex Earth System Processes, 2nd call).


Fickel, Thomas/Robert Lütkemeier/Diana Hummel (2020): Biodiversitätskonflikte. Eine sozial-ökologische Perspektive. W & F Wissenschaft und Frieden 38 (4), 26-29

Kraus, Ronja/Robert Lütkemeier/Meed Mbidzo/Morgan Hauptfleisch/Stefan Liehr (2020): Stakeholder attitudes on wildlife in Namibia's Kunene Region. SPACES II Newsletter, 4. Science Partnerships for the Adaptation to Complex Earth System Processes in Southern Africa, 16

Kraus, Ronja (2020): ORYCS Master tandem on Elephant movements. SPACES II Newsletter, 3. Science Partnerships for the Adaptation to Complex Earth System Processes in Southern Africa, 4

Kraus, Ronja/Robert Lütkemeier/Meed Mbidzo/Morgan Hauptfleisch/Stefan Liehr (2020): Approaching the interaction between society and wildlife. SPACES II Newsletter, 2. Science Partnerships for the Adaptation to Complex Earth System Processes in Southern Africa, 23

Lütkemeier, Robert/Ronja Kraus/Meed Mbidzo/Stefan Liehr (2019): First assessment of perspectives on wildlife management. SPACES II Newsletter, 1. Science Partnerships for the Adaptation to Complex Earth System Processes in Southern Africa, 8


2019/02 – 2022/01