Community-Based Conservation and Ecological Integrity: An Assessment of Kibale and Queen Elizabeth Conservation Areas in Uganda

Joseph Katswera, Norah M. Mutekanga, Charles K. Twesigye


Community-based conservation in four national parks and four wildlife reserves in Kibale and Queen Elizabeth Conservation Areas, Uganda is explored. This study investigated how community-based conservation protects ecological integrity through evaluation of the extent to which communities participate in conservation, its usefulness, and the challenges they face, using a survey. Data was collected May 2018 to April 2019 using literature review, focused group discussions, Key Informant Interviews, and semi-structured questionnaires from 259 respondents selected from the local authorities and households adjacent Kibale and Queen Elizabeth Conservation Areas. This study analysed data using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient, Kruskal-Wallis Analysis of Variance, Pearson Chi square test, and Univariate Analysis of Variance; and presented the results in tables and figures. The study established that local communities participate in conservation education and awareness, benefit sharing, and boundary management programmes which contribute to biodiversity conservation and ecological integrity. Recognition of indigenous people’s property; knowledge of Key Park attributes; and participation of local authorities and private sector improves people-park relations, and creates acceptance of wildlife. Community-based conservation results into increased community knowledge and collaboration, community-based tourism, private sector involvement; growth in eco-lodges and campsites, and collaboration between local communities and park management. Local community participation creates trust, belonging, acceptance, and reduces pressure on the park resources. The study concludes that Community-based Conservation is integral to conservation of biodiversity and protection of ecological integrity. However, it’s challenged by poor governance, limited community involvement in conservation-related decision making, community involvement in illegal activities, and unrealistic community expectations. The wildlife agency should provide incentives to meet community needs, strengthen the benefit sharing scheme, formulate community conservation related policies, and also create and strengthen community conservation institutions to participate in conserving biodiversity and ecological integrity. Future research should explore local community perceptions and attitudes towards wildlife conservation.

Keywords: biodiversity conservation, local community participation, wildlife protected areas

DOI: 10.7176/JEES/12-4-02

Publication date: April 30th 2022

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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