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Community attitudes and behaviour towards conservation: an assessment of a community conservation programme around Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda

  • Mark Infield and Agrippinah Namara (a1)
Abstract

This paper analyses the impact of a community conservation programme (CCP) implemented over a 7-year period around a national park in Uganda. Programme activities included dialogue, conflict reduction, education, community resource access and support for community development. Surveys of attitudes show that communities benefited from the programme were significantly more positive towards the park and wildlife than communities that did not. The community conservation programme built an understanding of conservation objectives amongst communities whose members were more likely to recognize positive aspects of the park and less likely to demand that it be degazetted. Comparison over the 7-year duration of the programme, however, did not show that communities were generally more positive towards conservation. They were more critical of management and demanded more support and resources than they had received. Their behaviour was not greatly changed, and high levels of poaching and illegal grazing continued. Attitudes were influenced by communities receiving development assistance, but improvements were fragile, vulnerable to poor behaviour of park staff and lawenforcement activities. Both were seen as contradicting community approaches. Attitudes were also influenced by land ownership and economic occupation. The CCP was not a panacea for the problems of the park and did not resolve fundamental conflicts of interest between communities and park management. However, it did change the way the protagonists perceive and interact with each other.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK, E-mail: mark@infield.nu
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Oryx
  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
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