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Resources use, conservation attitudes, management intervention and park-people relations in the Western Terai landscape of Nepal

  • NABIN BARAL (a1) and JOEL T. HEINEN (a2)

Abstract

Various conservation models have been implemented in Nepal since 1973, however their impacts on resources use and conservation attitudes are scarcely known. To address the hypothesis that conservation attitudes should improve around protected areas (PAs) with more social and economic interventions, stratified random questionnaire surveys of 234 households were conducted in two PAs in the Western Terai of Nepal: Bardia National Park (BNP), in which interventions have been more widespread for longer time periods, and Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve (SWR), in which interventions are relatively recent. Both are part of a major landscape-level conservation programme under implementation in Nepal, and both are under threat of political turmoil, uncontrolled immigration, inefficient land reform policies and unsustainable resource use. There was spatio-temporal variability in resource use patterns and dependence. People collected eight and seven types of resources in BNP and SWR, respectively, and people in BNP were more dependent on resources overall. About 72% of respondents mentioned the problem of inadequate firewood, and suggested the promotion of alternative energy and permission to collect from PAs as mitigating strategies. Of 11 attitude statements, five significantly differed between the two areas. Respondents from the BNP had more favourable attitudes about conservation than those from SWR, supporting the main hypothesis. Training received by respondents, damage by wildlife, dependence on resources and satisfaction towards user groups contributed significantly to the variation in conservation attitudes. The results suggest that the liberalization of PA management has enabled the use of resources, improved livelihoods to some extent and solicited more favourable conservation attitudes in Nepal.

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Correspondence: Dr Joel T. Heinen e-mail: heinenj@fiu.edu

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Resources use, conservation attitudes, management intervention and park-people relations in the Western Terai landscape of Nepal

  • NABIN BARAL (a1) and JOEL T. HEINEN (a2)

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