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Factors influencing local communities' perceptions towards conservation of transboundary wildlife resources: the case of the Great Limpopo Trans-frontier Conservation Area

Journal article
Authors H. Ntuli
Sverker C. Jagers
Amanda Linell
Martin Sjöstedt
E. Muchapondwa
Published in Biodiversity and Conservation
Volume 28
Issue 11
Pages 2977-3003
ISSN 0960-3115
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 2977-3003
Language en
Keywords Perceptions, Attitudes, Behaviour, Collective action, Transfrontier conservation area, pro-environmental behavior, protected areas, national-park, tourism, development, management, attitudes, governance, africa, people, institutions, Biodiversity & Conservation, Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Subject categories Sociology


Local communities' perceptions of protected areas are important determinants of the success of conservation efforts in Southern Africa, as these perceptions affect people's attitudes and behaviour with respect to conservation. As a result, the involvement of local communities in transboundary wildlife conservation is now viewed as an integral part of regional development initiatives. Building on unique survey data and applying regression analysis, this paper investigates the determinants of the perceptions of local communities around the Great Limpopo Trans-frontier Conservation Area in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Our results illustrate that people perceiving the park as well-managed tend to have more positive perceptions regarding the benefits from the park, rules governing the park, and wildlife conservation in general. Household expertise on resource extraction, in turn, tends to make people more likely to perceive environmental crime as morally acceptable. Furthermore, the results indicate that if people perceive the rules of the park in a negative way, then they are less likely to conserve wildlife. Receiving benefits from the park has a positive impact on people's perceptions of the rules governing the park, as well as on their perception of wildlife conservation in general, but not on perceptions about environmental crime. Surprisingly, perceived high levels of corruption is positively associated with people's perception of wildlife benefits and with perceptions of that environmental crime is morally justified. There is also evidence of the role of socioeconomic variables on people's perceptions towards wildlife. However, unobservable contextual factors could be responsible for explaining part of the variation in people's perceptions. Our results speak to the literature on large-scale collective action since perceptions of wildlife benefits, corruption, environmental crime, park management and rules governing the parks, all affect local communities' ability and willingness to self organize. These variables are interesting because they can be influenced by policy through training and awareness campaigns.

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