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Local attitudes toward community-based conservation policy and programmes in Nepal: a case study in the Makalu-Barun conservation area

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 09:11 AM
Contributors: Jai N. Mehta, Stephen R. Kellert

This journal article is derived from a survey of local communities’ attitudes toward programs of development, ecotourism, community forestry, and wildlife conservation implemented in the Makalu-Barun National Park and Conservation Area (MBNPCA), Nepal. The MBNPCA encompasses an area of 2330 km in the eastern Nepal Himalaya. The Conservation Area (CA) encompasses 830 km and was home to 32 000 people, while only 40 permanent residents inhabited the National Park component that encompasses 1500 km. The study was based on a 1996 survey of 400 people living in the MBNPCA. Respondents did not have a particularly favourable perception of the community development programmes implemented. The authors attribute community members’ attitudes toward conservation programs to factors of ethnicity, gender and wealth. Local communities overwhelmingly supported the project’s policy of handing over management responsibility of community forests to them. Communities regarded common property regimes as preferable to either state or non-property (open-access) regimes. There was a strong support for ecotourism development in the Conservation Area. The authors argue that opening certain areas to ecotourism could enhance off-farm employment opportunities, and thus provide incentives to conserve natural resources. Wildlife protection was a low priority amongst local communities. Wildlife depredation in the CA was a contentious issue requiring immediate attention. The authors suggest that to win the support of local communities for biodiversity conservation, the project should continue addressing local development needs, encourage women’s participation in community forest-user groups, and allow hunting of pest wild animals.

Author(s): Jai N. Mehta , Stephen R. Kellert

Publication Date: 1998

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