Park Gazettement and Integrated Conservation and Development as Factors in Community Conflict at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda

Type Journal Article - Conservation Biology
Title Park Gazettement and Integrated Conservation and Development as Factors in Community Conflict at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda
Volume 26
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
Page numbers 160-170
Conflicts between protected-area managers and local people are common, but the drivers of conflict are rarely analyzed. This limits opportunities to identify strategies that reduce conflict and the magnitude of resulting threats to conservation. Integrated conservation and development (ICD) was adopted at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda, to reduce conflict during gazettement of the national park, but the success of this approach remains contested. We retrieved documents of conflict written by park staff and local people from 1986 through 2000 (before, during, and after gazettement). We extracted data on 48 incidences of violent conflict and categorized them by gazettement period, area, instigator, and type to undertake a historical analysis of the triggers of violent conflict at Bwindi. Before and during gazettement, local villagers instigated most of the conflict incidents when law-enforcement efforts sought to halt commercial activities within Bwindi. No conflict arose from the arrest of villagers collecting subsistence resources during these periods. After gazettement, prohibitions on commercial activities continued to drive conflict even though villagers collecting subsistence resources were arrested more frequently than before gazettement, and local attitudes toward the park had improved following receipt of ICD benefits. Law-enforcement efforts targeted commercial activities to reduce this threat to Bwindi’s mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), although the activities remained important income sources for people in villages near Bwindi. Losing commercial income following gazettement therefore appeared to be their primary motivation for instigating conflict with park rangers. Prohibitions on subsistence resource use triggered conflict less often. Our use of typologies for a multivariate conflict analysis demonstrates that by identifying differences between effects of conservation as drivers of conflict, conflict analysis can enable a more strategic deployment of conflict–resolution measures that could further conservation efforts. At Bwindi targeting ICD toward individuals who lost benefits from commercial activities may strengthen the role of ICD in conflict resolution and conservation.

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