Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 9
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Rao, M. Nagendra, H. Shahabuddin, G. and Carrasco, L. R. 2016. Protected Areas.

    Agyare, Andrew Murray, Grant Dearden, Philip and Rollins, Richard 2015. Conservation in Context: Variability in Desired and Perceived Outcomes of Community Based Natural Resources Governance in Ghana. Society & Natural Resources, Vol. 28, Issue. 9, p. 975.

    Crewett, Wibke 2015. Street-Level Bureaucrats at Work: A Municipality-Level Institutional Analysis of Community-Based Natural Resource Management Implementation Practice in the Pasture Sector of Kyrgyzstan. Sustainability, Vol. 7, Issue. 3, p. 3146.

    Fazey, Ioan Bunse, Lukas Msika, Joshua Pinke, Maria Preedy, Katherine Evely, Anna C. Lambert, Emily Hastings, Emily Morris, Sue and Reed, Mark S. 2014. Evaluating knowledge exchange in interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder research. Global Environmental Change, Vol. 25, p. 204.

    Asare, R. A. Kyei, A. and Mason, J. J. 2013. The community resource management area mechanism: a strategy to manage African forest resources for REDD+. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 368, Issue. 1625, p. 20120311.

    Ernst, Kathleen M. and van Riemsdijk, Micheline 2013. Climate change scenario planning in Alaska's National Parks: Stakeholder involvement in the decision-making process. Applied Geography, Vol. 45, p. 22.

    Pullin, Andrew S Bangpan, Mukdarut Dalrymple, Sarah Dickson, Kelly Haddaway, Neal R Healey, John R Hauari, Hanan Hockley, Neal Jones, Julia P G Knight, Teri Vigurs, Carol and Oliver, Sandy 2013. Human well-being impacts of terrestrial protected areas. Environmental Evidence, Vol. 2, Issue. 1, p. 19.

    Burton, A. Cole 2012. Critical evaluation of a long-term, locally-based wildlife monitoring program in West Africa. Biodiversity and Conservation, Vol. 21, Issue. 12, p. 3079.

    Granados, Alys and Weladji, Robert B. 2012. Human–Elephant Conflict Around Bénoué National Park, Cameroon: Influence on Local Attitudes and Implications for Conservation. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, Vol. 17, Issue. 2, p. 77.


Ten years of adaptive community-governed conservation: evaluating biodiversity protection and poverty alleviation in a West African hippopotamus reserve

  • DONNA J. SHEPPARD (a1) (a2) (a3), AXEL MOEHRENSCHLAGER (a4), JANA M. MCPHERSON (a4) (a5) and JOHN J. MASON (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 15 July 2010

Community-based natural resource management has been accused of failing on social, economic or ecological grounds. Balanced assessments are rare, however, particularly in West Africa. This paper examines the first 10 years of Ghana's Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary using an evaluation framework that considers socioeconomic and ecological outcomes, as well as resilience mechanisms. Building upon traditional taboos against the killing of hippopotami, this initiative has attempted to conserve an imperilled large mammal, protect biodiversity and alleviate abject poverty amidst a bush meat crisis and complex ethnic diversity. Findings show that the Sanctuary has improved local livelihoods by spurring economic diversification and infrastructure development rates 2–8 times higher than in surrounding communities. Simultaneously, threats to biodiversity have subsided, hippopotamus numbers have remained stable and the Sanctuary's riparian habitats now harbour more bird species than comparable areas nearby. Improved social capital, true empowerment, an equitable distribution of benefits, ecological awareness among children and support for the Sanctuary, even amongst community members who were disadvantaged by its creation, speak to good long-term prospects. Risks remain, some of which are beyond the community's control, but evidence of socioecological resilience suggests that capacity exists to buffer risks and foster sustainability. Lessons learnt at Wechiau translate into recommendations for the planning, implementation and evaluation of future community-based conservation initiatives, including greater interdisciplinary integration and the use of adaptive co-management approaches.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence: Dr Axel Moehrenschlager e-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

W.M. Adams & D. Hulme (2001) If community conservation is the answer in Africa, what is the question? Oryx 35: 193200.

S. AppiahOpoku & G. Mulamoottil (1997) Indigenous institutions and environmental assessment: the case of Ghana. Environmental Management 21: 159171.

A. Balmford , J.L. Moore , T. Brooks , N. Burgess , L.A. Hansen , P. Williams & C. Rahbek (2001) Conservation conflicts across Africa. Science 291: 26162619.

D. Bennett , N. Green & B. Basuglo (2000) The abundance of Hippopotamus amphibius in the Black Volta River at Bui National Park, Ghana. African Journal of Ecology 38: 372373.

F. Berkes (2007) Community-based conservation in a globalized world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104: 1518815193.

J.S. Brashares , P. Arcese & M.K. Sam (2001) Human demography and reserve size predict wildlife extinction in West Africa. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B. Biological Sciences 268: 24732478.

J.S. Brashares , P. Arcese , M.K. Sam , P.B. Coppolillo , A.R.E. Sinclair & A. Balmford (2004) Bushmeat hunting, wildlife declines, and fish supply in West Africa. Science 306: 11801183.

D. Brockington , J. Igoe & K. Schmidt-Soltau (2006) Conservation, human rights, and poverty reduction. Conservation Biology 20: 250252.

K. P. Burnham & D. R. Anderson (2004) Multimodel inference: understanding AIC and BIC in model selection. Sociological Methods and Research 33: 261304.

J. Carwardine , K.A. Wilson , G. Ceballos , P.R. Ehrlich , R. Naidoo , T. Iwamura , S.A. Hajkowicz & H.P. Possingham (2008) Cost-effective priorities for global mammal conservation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105: 1144611450.

K.M.A. Chan , R.M. Pringle , J. Ranganathan , C.L. Boggs , Y.L. Chan , P.R. Ehrlich , P.K. Haff , N.E. Heller , K. Al-Krafaji & D.P. Macmynowski (2007) When agendas collide: human welfare and biological conservation. Conservation Biology 21: 5968.

S. Chasalow (2009) Combinat: combinatorics utilities. R package version 0.0-7 [www document]. URL

P. Choribe (1997) Survey of Hippopotamus in the Black Volta, Upper West Region, Ghana. Accra: Ghana Wildlife Department.

A. Conley & M.A. Moote (2003) Evaluating collaborative natural resource management. Society and Natural Resources 16: 371386.

P.V. Desanker & C.O. Justice (2001) Africa and global climate change: critical issues and suggestions for further research and integrated assessment modeling. Climate Research 17: 93103.

M. Michaelidou , D.J. Decker & J.P. Lassoie (2002) The interdependence of ecosystem and community viability: a theoretical framework to guide research and application. Society and Natural Resources 15: 599616.

E. Mutandwa & C.T. Gadzirayi (2007) Impact of community-based approaches to wildlife management: case study of the CAMPFIRE programme in Zimbabwe. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 14: 336344.

A.A. Oteng-Yeboah , P. Beier & W. Oduro (2001 b) Annual Report on Year 2 of Earthwatch Institue Supported Research in the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary Area: Ecological Baseline Survey of the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary. Maynard, MA: Earthwatch Institute.

A.A. Oteng-Yeboah , P. Beier & W. Oduro (2003) Annual Report on Year 4 of Earthwatch Institute Supported Research in the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary Area: Supporting Management of the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary. Maynard, MA: EarthWatch Institute.

R. Plummer & D. Armitage (2007) A resilience-based framework for evaluating adaptive co-management: linking ecology, economics and society in a complex world. Ecological Economics 61: 6274.

A.S.L. Rodrigues , S.J. Andelman , M.I. Bakarr , L. Boitani , T.M. Brooks , R.M. Cowling , L.D.C. Fishpool , G.A.B. da Fonseca , K.J. Gaston , M. Hoffmann , J.S. Long , P.A. Marquet , J.D. Pilgrim , R.L. Pressey , J. Schipper , W. Sechrest , S.N. Stuart , L.G. Underhill , R.W. Waller , M.E.J. Watts & X. Yan (2004) Effectiveness of the global protected area network in representing species diversity. Nature 428: 640643.

H.H. Roth , B. Hoppe-Dominik , M. Muhlenberg , B. Steinhauer-Burkart & F. Fischer (2004) Distribution and status of the hippopotamids in the Ivory Coast. African Zoology 39: 211224.

J.D. Sachs , J.E.M. Baillie , W.J. Sutherland , P.R. Armsworth , N. Ash , J. Beddington , T.M. Blackburn , B. Collen , B. Gardiner , K.J. Gaston , H.C.J. Godfray , R.E. Green , P.H. Harvey , B. House , S. Knapp , N.F. Kumpel , D.W. Macdonald , G.M. Mace , J. Mallet , A. Matthews , R.M. May , O. Petchey , A. Purvis , D. Roe , K. Safi , K. Turner , M. Walpole , R. Watson & K.E. Jones (2009) Biodiversity conservation and the Millennium Development Goals. Science 325: 15021503.

E.E. van Loon , D.F.R. Cleary & C. Fauvelot (2007) ares: software to compare allelic richness between uneven samples. Molecular Ecology Notes 7: 579582.

M. Walpole & L. Wilder (2008) Disentangling the links between conservation and poverty reduction in practice. Oryx 42: 539547.

E.P. Weber , N.P. Lovrich & M. Gaffney (2005) Collaboration, enforcement, and endangered species: a framework for assessing collaborative problem-solving capacity. Society and Natural Resources 18: 677698.

M. Wells & T.O. McShane (2004) Integrating protected area management with local needs and aspirations. Ambio 33: 513519.

C.J. Wilson , R.S. Reid , N.L. Stanton & B.D. Perry (1997) Effects of land-use and tsetse fly control on bird species richness in southwestern Ethiopia. Conservation Biology 11: 435447.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Environmental Conservation
  • ISSN: 0376-8929
  • EISSN: 1469-4387
  • URL: /core/journals/environmental-conservation
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *