Concerns and benefits of park-adjacent communities in Northern Ghana: the case of Mole National Park
Protected areas are increasingly becoming islands of habitat surrounded by seas of cultivation and development. Communities experience both costs and benefits associated with nearby PAs, and perception of these influence support for PAs and subsequent conservation related behaviors. This paper explores the concerns and benefits of 10 adjacent communities surrounding Mole National Park in Ghana using key informants, focus groups and household surveys. Overall, most people have a positive attitude towards the park. Yet, in many communities respondents also have negative attitudes. Crop depredation, loss of farmlands, and lack of access to NTFPs are the top three concerns. Increased conservation awareness, provision of ecosystem services and maintenance of cultural identity are the top three benefits. This study examined a number of factors thought to influence attitudes to PAs, and found that the strongest predictor of a community’s attitude towards the park is whether it is involved in a community resource management area (CREMA). Other factors such as distance from the PA, involvement in tourism, culture, and demographics (age and gender) were also significant but of less importance. Knowledge of these influential factors can assist management to create more favourable perceptions of protected areas.
Acquah, E; Rollins, R; Dearden, P; Murray, G
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