Local attitudes towards natural resources management in rural Ghana

Type Journal Article - Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal
Title Local attitudes towards natural resources management in rural Ghana
Volume 26
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/MEQ-04-2014-0061
Purpose. Local support is fundamental in natural resources management (NRM). However, recent studies indicate that NRM in protected areas in developing countries is often faced with local resistance due to its impacts on livelihoods. This paper examines local attitudes – positive and negative responses – towards NRM in protected areas and implications of NRM benefits on local support for conservation of protected areas.
Design/methodology/approach. A quantitative research method was used for this study. Structured questionnaire survey was administered to 310 respondents across four case study communities – Abrafo, Mesomagor, Adadientem and Nuamakrom – around the Kakum Conservation Area (KCA), Ghana. Chi-squared test and logistic regression were used to analyse the data with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software.
Findings. Findings showed positive attitudes towards NRM in protected areas (85.9%) and high support for conservation of KCA (86.5%). Respondents recognised the importance of the KCA in managing natural resources especially forest and water resources. Positive attitudes towards conservation of KCA were largely influenced by receipt of socio-economic benefits from the KCA, in terms of employment, income and involvement in KCA management. However, those excluded from socio-economic benefits from the KCA also expressed positive attitudes towards conservation, suggesting that support for NRM transcends socio-economic benefits. On the other hand, local people recognised the challenges associated with NRM in protected areas such as increased farm raids by wildlife, loss of access to timber and non-timber forest products.
Originality/value. This paper has revealed that although socio-economic benefits from NRM in protected areas influence local people’s support for conservation, local knowledge of the environmental benefits is equally important. The depth of local knowledge of NRM in the KCA is dependent on educational status and level of involvement of respondents in the KCA in terms of employment, and the effectiveness of educational campaigns by the park officials. Therefore, in the absence of clear development programmes from government and park officials to educate and involve local people in NRM, it appears the conservation objective upon which NRM in protected areas are designed may not be realised.

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