Aligning conservation efforts with resource use around protected areas
A large number of economically disadvantaged people live around protected areas. Conservation efforts that focus on poverty alleviation, work on the premise that an increase in household wealth decreases use of forest resources. We surveyed 1222 households across four tiger reserves to test the paradigm that an increase in assets leads to reduced forest use and we also assess the effects of other socio-economic factors. We find that increase in assets may reduce Non-timber Forest Product (NTFP) collection, but may not necessarily reduce livestock numbers or use of wood as a cooking fuel. Households that faced more economic setbacks were more likely to state that they wanted more livestock in the future. Education is positively associated with choosing Liquefied Petroleum Gas as a cooking fuel in the future. We find site and resource-specific variation. Fifty percent of all households (range across sites: 6–98) want to collect NTFP while 91% (range: 87–96) want to retain or own more livestock over the next 5–10 years. Understanding current and future resource use will help plan context-specific conservation efforts that are better aligned with reducing specific pressures around protected areas.
KeywordsLivelihoods Protected areas Resource extraction
We thank the various respondents living in and around these forests for their valuable time, sharing their lives and providing their invaluable insights to this study. A team of people on the ground have made this study possible. We thank Arpit Deshmukh, Neyi Jamoh, Prachi Kardam, Tanya Seshadri, Santosh Sogal, Jaishree Subrahmaniam for their inputs in planning, implementation, data collection, entry and management. We thank the Zilla Budakkatu Abhivrudhhi Girijana Sangha and its taluk counterparts, village leaders, mukhyas, gaon burrahs, Tana Tapi, Sanjay Shukla, Rakesh Shukla, Neha and Amit Verma, Kime Rambia, and other forest department staff and officers for their insights. We thank Benjamin Clark, Meghna Agarwala, Prashanth N.S., Rita Banerji, Imrana Khan, Abishek Harihar, Pooja Choksi, Anand MO for their support. We thank Madevi, Shivamma, Periswamy, Mahadevaiah, Shivamallu, Pandegowda, Yamuna Markam, Mahendra Bisen, Raju Khan, Sikander Khan, Kepu Riba, Masem Tachang, Pahi Tachang, Pema Tacho, Sarsomi Degio, Mize Degio, P. Gola, S. Gola, Surendra Pal, Dr. Sharma, Gabbar Singh Negi, Kaala and numerous others for their invaluable help in the field, interest, friendship, opening up their houses and ironing out difficulties in field. NV dedicates this paper to her team-mate Neyi Jamoh and the group that rallied around us to beat the odds.
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