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Local Communities and Protected Areas: Attitudes of Rural Residents Towards Conservation and Machalilla National Park, Ecuador

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 August 2009

Elba A. Fiallo
Affiliation:
Coordinator, Department of Biodiversity & Protected Areas, Fundación Natura, PO Box 17-01-253, Quito, Ecuador
Susan K. Jacobson
Affiliation:
Director, Program for Studies in Tropical Conservation, Associate Professor, Department of Wildlife and Range Sciences, 118 Newins-Ziegler Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA.

Extract

Economic and social problems facing many developing countries jeopardize the effectiveness and very existence of their national parks and protected areas. Rural poverty exacerbates the need for access to natural resources in protected areas and increases public conflict with protected-area management. A prerequisite for the long-term sustainability of parks and protected areas is public involvement and support for the conservation of natural resources.

Towards the above ends, the present study analyses local residents' attitudes, knowledge, and concept of values concerning conservation and the management of natural resources in Machalilla National Park, Ecuador. A survey was administered of 90 households in three villages located within the Park boundaries and two villages adjacent to the Park. Survey results indicated that local residents living either within or adjacent to Machalilla National Park hold a variety of negative attitudes towards the Park. Positive attitudes tended to increase with respondents' level of education (X2 = 19.001, df = 2, p < 0.0001) and knowledge about conservation issues (X2 = 26.616, df = 1, p < 0.0001). Younger residents (X2 = 12.960, df = 2, p = 0.002), respondents perceiving benefits from the Park (X2 = 14.292, df = 2, p = 0.001), and respondents reporting good relations with the Park staff (X2 = 5.514, df = 1, p = 0.019), were more positive towards the Park. Factors influencing public attitudes are compared with study results in other countries.

Type
Main Papers
Copyright
Copyright © Foundation for Environmental Conservation 1995

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