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Tourists, gorillas and guns: integrating conservation and development in the Central African Republic

Hodgkinson, C.; (2009) Tourists, gorillas and guns: integrating conservation and development in the Central African Republic. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Integrated conservation and development programs (ICDPs) are aimed at addressing both conservation and development issues through the involvement of local communities in the process of wildlife management. Typically this involves providing park-adjacent communities with conservation-related benefits to induce pro-conservation behaviour. The Dzanga-Sangha ICDP Project (DSP), southwest Central African Republic, has coordinated the management of a protected area complex since 1990. Its activities include traditional conservation measures such as anti-poaching patrols, a developing gorilla tourism programme, and focused development activities. This study adopts an interdisciplinary approach to evaluate its efficacy at meeting both local development and conservation goals, with a strong focus on how these two areas interact. Evaluation of the DSPs impact on poverty alleviation in the reserve community suggests that the considerable opportunity costs caused by park formation largely fail to be compensated by the benefits provided. This effect is augmented by the high level of in-migration into the reserve. Examination of discrepancies between cost/benefit provision and recognition show that community-level benefits are particularly undervalued by local residents. Attitudinal surveys suggest benefit recognition to be strongly linked to pro-conservation attitudes. However, results from a 12-month market survey, a concurrent household consumption survey, participant observation and key informant interviews showed that conservation-related behaviour, in terms of both wild-food extraction and consumption, is largely unrelated to either benefit receipt or attitudes. Furthermore, evaluation of conservation efficacy suggested the main prey species are being hunted at unsustainable rates. This empirical study takes its place in a growing literature addressing not only the direct social and environmental implications of ICDPs but, crucially, the interactions between the two. It provides both applied management recommendations in addition to further contributing to our theoretical understanding of the dual development-conservation approach.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Tourists, gorillas and guns: integrating conservation and development in the Central African Republic
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Anthropology

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