Accruing benefit or loss from a protected area: Location matters
The spatial distribution of protected area direct benefits and losses were mapped for twenty-five villages around Kibale National Park, Uganda. Benefits included park-based employment, tourism revenue sharing, integrated conservation and development projects, and resource access agreements. Losses were caused by park-protected animals raiding crops and preying on livestock. Local perceptions of benefit and loss associated with the park were collected from focus groups and a household survey. Valuation data were derived from interviews, the survey, and measurement of crop losses. Eight villages accrued an annual net benefit as a result of the park, while 17 villages accrued a net loss. Net benefitting villages were located near park-based employment and resource access associations involved in beekeeping. Households within 0.5km of the park boundary accrued the highest losses, while benefits distributed up to 15km away. The Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA) needs to focus benefits closer to the park boundary to support those who lose most from park-protected animals, and away from areas with park-based employment to more evenly distribute benefits around the circumference of the park. Attitudes toward the park appear to be shaped by loss aversion, suggesting UWA and conservation agencies should focus on loss mitigation, rather than benefit provision.
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