Skip to main content
×
×
Home

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)
Summary

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.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Correspondence: Dr Axel Moehrenschlager e-mail: axelm@calgaryzoo.ab.ca
References
Hide All
Adams, W.M. & Hulme, D. (2001) If community conservation is the answer in Africa, what is the question? Oryx 35: 193200.
AppiahOpoku, S. & Mulamoottil, G. (1997) Indigenous institutions and environmental assessment: the case of Ghana. Environmental Management 21: 159171.
Asase, A., Oteng-Yeboah, A.A. & Mason, J. (2006) Engaging people in the Wechiau Community Hippopotamus Sanctuary in Ghana. In: The Nature of Success: Success for Nature. 6th International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens, pp. 17. Oxford, UK: Botanic Gardens Conservation International.
Assenheim, N. (2000) People of the Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary. Masters thesis, Trent University, Trent, Canada.
Balmford, A., Moore, J.L., Brooks, T., Burgess, N., Hansen, L.A., Williams, P. & Rahbek, C. (2001) Conservation conflicts across Africa. Science 291: 26162619.
Bennett, D. & Basuglo, B. (1998) Final Report of the Aberdeen University Black Volta Expedition 1997. Aberdeen, UK: Viper Press.
Bennett, D., Green, N. & Basuglo, B. (2000) The abundance of Hippopotamus amphibius in the Black Volta River at Bui National Park, Ghana. African Journal of Ecology 38: 372373.
Berkes, F. (2007) Community-based conservation in a globalized world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104: 1518815193.
Brashares, J.S., Arcese, P. & Sam, M.K. (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.
Brashares, J.S., Arcese, P., Sam, M.K., Coppolillo, P.B., Sinclair, A.R.E. & Balmford, A. (2004) Bushmeat hunting, wildlife declines, and fish supply in West Africa. Science 306: 11801183.
Brockington, D., Igoe, J. & Schmidt-Soltau, K. (2006) Conservation, human rights, and poverty reduction. Conservation Biology 20: 250252.
Burnham, K. P. & Anderson, D. R. (2004) Multimodel inference: understanding AIC and BIC in model selection. Sociological Methods and Research 33: 261304.
Carwardine, J., Wilson, K.A., Ceballos, G., Ehrlich, P.R., Naidoo, R., Iwamura, T., Hajkowicz, S.A. & Possingham, H.P. (2008) Cost-effective priorities for global mammal conservation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105: 1144611450.
Chan, K.M.A., Pringle, R.M., Ranganathan, J., Boggs, C.L., Chan, Y.L., Ehrlich, P.R., Haff, P.K., Heller, N.E., Al-Krafaji, K. & Macmynowski, D.P. (2007) When agendas collide: human welfare and biological conservation. Conservation Biology 21: 5968.
Chasalow, S. (2009) Combinat: combinatorics utilities. R package version 0.0-7 [www document]. URL http://www.r-project.org/
Choribe, P. (1997) Survey of Hippopotamus in the Black Volta, Upper West Region, Ghana. Accra: Ghana Wildlife Department.
Conley, A. & Moote, M.A. (2003) Evaluating collaborative natural resource management. Society and Natural Resources 16: 371386.
CPRC (2009) The chronic poverty report 2008–2009: escaping poverty traps [www document]. URL http://www.chronicpoverty.org/uploads/publicationfiles/CPR2_ReportFull.pdf
Desanker, P.V. & Justice, C.O. (2001) Africa and global climate change: critical issues and suggestions for further research and integrated assessment modeling. Climate Research 17: 93103.
Eltringham, S.K. (1993) Pigs, peccaries and hippos: status survey and conservation action plan. In: The Common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), ed Oliver, W.L.R., pp. 4355. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.
Eltringham, S.K. (2001) Hippopotamuses. In: The New Encyclopedia of Mammals, ed MacDonald, D., pp. 490495. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Fisher, M. (2004) Links between poverty alleviation and conservation: the debate continues. Oryx 38: 119120.
Giraudoux, P. (2009) Pgrimess: data analysis in ecology [www document]. URL http://www.r-project.org/
Insightful (2001) S-Plus 6 for Windows Guide to Statistics, Volume 2. Seattle, WA, USA: Insightful Corporation.
Kellert, S.R., Mehta, J.N., Ebbin, S.A. & Lichtenfeld, L.L. (2000) Community natural resource management: promise, rhetoric, and reality. Society and Natural Resources 13: 705715.
Lewison, R. & Oliver, W. (2008) Hippopotamus amphibius [www document]. URL http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Michaelidou, M., Decker, D.J. & Lassoie, J.P. (2002) The interdependence of ecosystem and community viability: a theoretical framework to guide research and application. Society and Natural Resources 15: 599616.
Mutandwa, E. & Gadzirayi, C.T. (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.
Oteng-Yeboah, A.A., Beier, P. & Oduro, W. (2001 a) Annual Report on Year 1 of Earthwatch Institute Supported Research in the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary Area: Ecological Baseline Survey of the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary. Maynard, MA, USA: Earthwatch Institute.
Oteng-Yeboah, A.A., Beier, P. & Oduro, W. (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.
Oteng-Yeboah, A.A., Beier, P. & Oduro, W. (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.
Pinheiro, J., Bates, D., DebRoy, S., Sarkar, D. & Team, T.R.C. (2009) nlme: linear and nonlinear mixed effects models [www document]. URL http://www.r-project.org/
Plummer, R. & Armitage, D. (2007) A resilience-based framework for evaluating adaptive co-management: linking ecology, economics and society in a complex world. Ecological Economics 61: 6274.
R Development Core Team (2009) A language and environment for statistical computing [www document]. URL http://www.r-project.org/
Rodrigues, A.S.L., Andelman, S.J., Bakarr, M.I., Boitani, L., Brooks, T.M., Cowling, R.M., Fishpool, L.D.C., da Fonseca, G.A.B., Gaston, K.J., Hoffmann, M., Long, J.S., Marquet, P.A., Pilgrim, J.D., Pressey, R.L., Schipper, J., Sechrest, W., Stuart, S.N., Underhill, L.G., Waller, R.W., Watts, M.E.J. & Yan, X. (2004) Effectiveness of the global protected area network in representing species diversity. Nature 428: 640643.
Roe, D. (2008) The origins and evolution of the conservation-poverty debate: a review of key literature, events and policy processes. Oryx 42: 491503.
Roth, H.H., Hoppe-Dominik, B., Muhlenberg, M., Steinhauer-Burkart, B. & Fischer, F. (2004) Distribution and status of the hippopotamids in the Ivory Coast. African Zoology 39: 211224.
Sachs, J.D., Baillie, J.E.M., Sutherland, W.J., Armsworth, P.R., Ash, N., Beddington, J., Blackburn, T.M., Collen, B., Gardiner, B., Gaston, K.J., Godfray, H.C.J., Green, R.E., Harvey, P.H., House, B., Knapp, S., Kumpel, N.F., Macdonald, D.W., Mace, G.M., Mallet, J., Matthews, A., May, R.M., Petchey, O., Purvis, A., Roe, D., Safi, K., Turner, K., Walpole, M., Watson, R. & Jones, K.E. (2009) Biodiversity conservation and the Millennium Development Goals. Science 325: 15021503.
UNEP-WCMC (2008) State of the world's protected areas: an annual review of global conservation progress [www document]. URL http://www.unep-wcmc.org/protected_areas/pdf/stateOfTheWorld'sProtectedAreasLow.pdf
van Loon, E.E., Cleary, D.F.R. & Fauvelot, C. (2007) ares: software to compare allelic richness between uneven samples. Molecular Ecology Notes 7: 579582.
Walpole, M. & Wilder, L. (2008) Disentangling the links between conservation and poverty reduction in practice. Oryx 42: 539547.
Weber, E.P., Lovrich, N.P. & Gaffney, M. (2005) Collaboration, enforcement, and endangered species: a framework for assessing collaborative problem-solving capacity. Society and Natural Resources 18: 677698.
Wells, M. & McShane, T.O. (2004) Integrating protected area management with local needs and aspirations. Ambio 33: 513519.
Wilson, C.J., Reid, R.S., Stanton, N.L. & Perry, B.D. (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? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed