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An institutional analysis of deforestation processes in protected areas: The case of the transboundary Mt. Elgon, Uganda and Kenya


  • Petursson, Jon Geir
  • Vedeld, Paul
  • Sassen, Marieke


Protected areas (PAs) are a country's key strategy to conserve and manage forest resources. In sub-Saharan Africa, the effectiveness and efficiency of PA institutions in delivering sustainable outcomes is debated, however, and deforestation has not been avoided within such formal regimes. This paper analyzes the processes that led to deforestation within the PAs on the transboundary Mt. Elgon, Uganda–Kenya, employing institutional theory. Landsat satellite imagery helped identify and quantify forest loss over time. The study showed how, since 1973, about a third of all forests within the PAs on Elgon have been cleared in successive processes. Within formal protected area regimes, complex political and institutional factors drive forest loss. We argue, therefore, that policies to counter deforestation using a PA model have to be considered and understood against the broader background of these factors, originating both inside and outside the PA regimes.

Suggested Citation

  • Petursson, Jon Geir & Vedeld, Paul & Sassen, Marieke, 2013. "An institutional analysis of deforestation processes in protected areas: The case of the transboundary Mt. Elgon, Uganda and Kenya," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 22-33.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:26:y:2013:i:c:p:22-33
    DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2012.09.012

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gabrielle Lynch, 2006. "Negotiating Ethnicity: Identity politics in contemporary Kenya-super-1," Review of African Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(107), pages 49-65, March.
    2. Hayes, Tanya M., 2006. "Parks, People, and Forest Protection: An Institutional Assessment of the Effectiveness of Protected Areas," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 2064-2075, December.
    3. Vedeld, Paul & Angelsen, Arild & Bojo, Jan & Sjaastad, Espen & Kobugabe Berg, Gertrude, 2007. "Forest environmental incomes and the rural poor," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(7), pages 869-879, April.
    4. Vatn, Arild, 2005. "Rationality, institutions and environmental policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 203-217, November.
    5. Sunderlin, William D. & Angelsen, Arild & Belcher, Brian & Burgers, Paul & Nasi, Robert & Santoso, Levania & Wunder, Sven, 2005. "Livelihoods, forests, and conservation in developing countries: An Overview," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1383-1402, September.
    6. Arild Vatn, 2005. "Institutions and the Environment," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2826.
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    2. Belachew Gizachew & Svein Solberg & Stefano Puliti, 2018. "Forest Carbon Gain and Loss in Protected Areas of Uganda: Implications to Carbon Benefits of Conservation," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(4), pages 1-14, November.
    3. Mbanze, Aires Afonso & Vieira da Silva, Carina & Ribeiro, Natasha Sofia & Santos, José Lima, 2021. "Participation in illegal harvesting of natural resources and the perceived costs and benefits of living within a protected area," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 179(C).
    4. James Omoding & Gretchen Walters & Edward Andama & Salete Carvalho & Julien Colomer & Marina Cracco & Gerald Eilu & Gaster Kiyingi & Chetan Kumar & Council Dickson Langoya & Barbara Nakangu Bugembe & , 2020. "Analysing and Applying Stakeholder Perceptions to Improve Protected Area Governance in Ugandan Conservation Landscapes," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(6), pages 1-25, June.
    5. Petursson, Jon Geir & Vedeld, Paul, 2017. "Rhetoric and reality in protected area governance: Institutional change under different conservation discourses in Mount Elgon National Park, Uganda," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 166-177.
    6. Nakakaawa, Charlotte & Moll, Ricarda & Vedeld, Paul & Sjaastad, Espen & Cavanagh, Joseph, 2015. "Collaborative resource management and rural livelihoods around protected areas: A case study of Mount Elgon National Park, Uganda," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 1-11.

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