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Putting land management in the hands of local communities helps the wildlife within, according to new research by a Penn State scientist. A new study demonstrates the positive ecological impacts of a community-based wildlife conservation area in Tanzania. The research is summarized in a paper that appears online [date] in the Journal of Wildlife Management.
"Community-based natural resource management has become one of the dominant paradigms of natural resource conservation worldwide," said Derek E. Lee, the author of the paper, associate research professor at Penn State, and principal scientist at the Wild Nature Institute.
Type - Strategy - Transfers - Resource - Management
"This type of strategy transfers the resource management and user rights from central government agencies to local communities. The impact of these projects on wildlife is rarely rigorously assessed, so we compared wildlife densities inside and outside the community conservation area. My data demonstrate that one of the first areas of this type in Tanzania has had positive ecological outcomes in the form of higher wildlife densities and higher giraffe population growth," said Lee.
In Tanzania, efforts to decentralize wildlife management to local communities occur through the creation of Wildlife Management Areas, whereby several villages set aside land for wildlife conservation in return for a share of tourism revenues from these areas. Nineteen Wildlife Management Areas are currently operating, encompassing 7% (6.2 million hectares) of Tanzania's land area, with 19 more planned. Tourism in Tanzania generates around $6 billion US dollars annually, which represents about 13% of their total gross domestic product, so there is good incentive for villages to participate in these management areas.
Years - Burunge - Wildlife - Management - Area
"For six years, I studied the Burunge Wildlife Management Area in Tanzania, which was formally established in 2006 and added increased wildlife protections in 2015," said Lee. He observed higher numbers of wildlife inside the protected area compared to the village lands just outside the...
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