Linking Conservation, Equity and Poverty Alleviation: Understanding profiles and motivations of resource users and local perceptions of governance at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, southwest Uganda, is home to around half the world’s population of critically endangered Mountain gorilla and is situated in one of the poorest and most densely populated regions of Africa. Integrated Conservation and Development (ICD) initiatives have been promoted as a way of protecting the park while also improving the livelihoods of local people. But while some have been successful, many have been criticised for failing to reduce threats posed by unauthorised resource use.
This research sought to understand who continues to use Bwindi’s resources illegally and why, despite ICD. We found that local feelings of injustice over national park conservation were as important a driver as rural poverty, and the more involved in decision-making people felt, the more benefit from an ICD intervention they reported. Our findings support current developments at the international level that focus on equitable management of protected areas not only as a moral obligation,~but also as a necessity if conservation efforts are to be effective and sustainable.