OOS 63-8
Quantitative evaluation of conservation strategies in Tanzania: Household livelihoods and wildlife conflict in community-based management areas

Thursday, August 13, 2015: 10:30 AM
327, Baltimore Convention Center
Jonathan Salerno, Ecology, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, USA
Monique Borgerhoff Mulder, Anthropology, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, USA
Background/Question/Methods: Conservation scientists struggle to balance ecosystem and economic tradeoffs, particularly in the case of protected areas and landscape planning. In tropical regions, the majority of ecosystem-based conservation efforts include goals to support both biodiversity and human livelihoods. Throughout much of East and Southern Africa, community-based conservation (CBC) and similar strategies seek to integrate local management of resources into landscape-level conservation planning.  Central to these strategies is the need to provision benefits to households in order to offset lost resource access and the costly effects of human-wildlife conflict (HWC; e.g., destruction of crops and livestock, threats to human life). After decades implementing such strategies, managers lack mechanistic explanations of protected area – livelihood interactions with which to design and implement effective ecosystem-based conservation programs. Using data from 2,600 households across the protected area network in northern Tanzania, we investigate (i) the performance of the national-scale CBC strategy in terms of supporting the livelihoods of local people, and (ii) the specific mechanisms driving strategy outcomes. To do so we model household food security as predicted by conflicts with wildlife, CBC participation as our treatment variable, and multiple control measures. Models are fit using a multi-level regression framework and Bayesian inference.

Results/Conclusions: Results from controlled multi-level models indicate substantial heterogeneity in social outcomes associated with community-based conservation projects across multiple project sites: certain sites have significant positive effects on participating households, yet others fail to do so. In addition, although households in project villages experience more frequent wildlife conflict and receive few provisioned benefits, there is evidence that these households may be buffered to some degree against the negative consequences of wildlife conflict. This effect to reduce the costs of losing livestock to predators suggests a potential mechanism whereby CBC projects may be acting to benefit households. Using village-level data, we discuss potential proximate pathways whereby projects affect households, such as through the providing social services (e.g., health centers) or supporting local governments (e.g., implementing land use plans). Few previous studies have demonstrated quantitative evidence on the social outcomes of national-scale conservation and protected area management, particularly regarding the mechanisms driving outcomes. Tanzania, like many areas of conservation importance, contains threatened biodiversity alongside areas of extreme poverty. Our research additionally highlights the need to examine the complex and locally specific mechanisms whereby interventions do, or do not, benefit wildlife and local communities.