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Community perceptions of the Cross River National Park, Nigeria

  • Dr Uwem E. Ite (a1)


National Parks have become the most widely-used category of protected areas in developing countries, including sub-Saharan Africa. Several studies have shown that local-community support for National Parks is based mainly on perceptions of benefits and costs against the background of social, cultural, political and economic considerations. This paper examines the experience in the Cross River National Park (CRNP) in southeast Nigeria using data collected through rapid rural appraisal techniques, household questionnaire surveys, focus group discussions and guided interviews. The results show that in spite of a high level of community awareness of the need to conserve the forests of the study area, there is a low level of local support for the CRNP forest conservation initiative. Four main factors are identified as the main influences on the support extended to the project, namely: reality and expectations of socio-economic development, the pace of project implementation, the relationship between park staff and communities, and the historical rights of local people to the forest of the study area. The implications of the findings relate to the long-term sustainability of the CRNP as a protected forest area.


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* Uwem E. Ite Tel: +44 1524 593301, Fax: +44 1524 847099 e-mail:


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Environmental Conservation
  • ISSN: 0376-8929
  • EISSN: 1469-4387
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