Assessing impacts from community conservation interventions around Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda

Type Journal Article - Study funded by the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA)
Title Assessing impacts from community conservation interventions around Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
Accepting that park-adjacent communities are integral to the success and sustainability of park management activities is an underlying principal of the Volcanoes National Park conservation strategy. Knowing the socio- economic status of park-adjacent households and communities is essential to design and monitor programmes of work to mitigate the local social and economic costs of conservation and maximize the benefits. Several studies have shown that it is the poorest people around the PNV that are most likely to use it illegally to provide for subsistence needs. It is a reasonable assumption in the case of the PNV that higher levels of poverty (low income) lead to increased dependency on local park resources. However, this does not imply a unitary relationship between household income and forest use. The determinants of forest use or dependency are much more contextually complex. This study comprised of a comprehensive survey of the current economic and social status of households in the 12 sectors adjacent to the Volcanoes National Park. It employed both a purposively sampled Participatory Rapid Appraisal (9 communities) and a stratified random Sample Household Survey (n=388) to qualitatively and quantitatively explore issues and perceptions of communities and socio-economic groups related to their development status and relationship with the national park. It provides a comprehensive base line of data from which to monitor the impacts of development and conservation programmes with communities in the park impact area, as well as general and specific knowledge to guide future interventions to maximize the household welfare and conservation benefits of interventions. The current development situation of communities around the PNV is examined in the context of household livelihoods. Issues regarding socio-economic opportunities and constraints as well as resource use are set in the broader context of seasonality, institutions to promote development, to reduce vulnerability, improve food security and generate income. Information is disaggregated by social and geographical factors: wealth groups and proximity to geographical distribution around the park.

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