Environmental Management

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 391–401 | Cite as

Evaluating Local Benefits from Conservation in Nepal’s Annapurna Conservation Area



Protected areas are integral to the global effort to conserve biodiversity, and, over the past two decades, protected area managers have begun to recognize that conservation objectives are next to impossible to achieve without considering the needs and concerns of local communities. Incentive-based programs (IBPs) have become a favored approach to protected area management, geared at fostering local stewardship by delivering benefits tied to conservation to local people. Effective IBPs require benefits to accrue to and be recognized by those experiencing the greatest consequences as a result of the protected area, and those likely to continue extractive activities if their livelihood needs are compromised. This research examines dispersal of IBP benefits, as perceived by local residents in Nepal’s Annapurna Conservation Area. Results reported here are based on questionnaire interviews with 188 households conducted between September and December 2004. Results indicate that local residents primarily identify benefits from social development activities, provisions for resource extraction, and economic opportunities. Overall, benefits have been dispersed equally to households in villages on and off the main tourist route, and regardless of a household’s participation in tourism. However, benefits are not effectively targeted to poorer residents, those highly dependent on natural resources, and those experiencing the most crop damage and livestock loss from protected wildlife. This article provides several suggestions for improving the delivery of conservation incentives.


Annapurna Conservation Area Incentive-based programs Protected areas Conservation Nepal Local communities 



Funding support for this project was provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Grant No. 410-2003-0136). We would like to thank the staff of the Trust for providing relevant information, Damodar Khadka for assisting with the design and application of the survey, and our field research assistants, Prem Kumar and Alka Gauchan, for their commitment and hard work. Gail Fondhal, Ray Chipeniuk, and Jeremy Mackenzie also provided valuable assistance throughout the research. Thanks are due also to Stella Nepal for preparing the ACA map presented in Fig. 1, and Jill Belsky, Harold Goodwin, and one anonymous reviewer for their comments to improve this manuscript. Most of all, we thank the people in the villages in the Jomsom area for welcoming us to their communities and offering their time and insights.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Alberta Tourism, Parks and RecreationExshawCanada
  2. 2.Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism SciencesTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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