Managing conflicts between local land use and the protection of the Ethiopian wolf: Residents’ preferences for conservation program design features

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Abstract

Conflict over land use is one of the challenges faced by large carnivore conservation programs in human-disturbed landscapes. Designing effective conservation strategies requires an understanding of the socioecological context and people's preferences towards conservation programs. This study investigates preferences of rural residents for management options defined by conservation program attributes to protect the endangered Ethiopian wolf, Canis simensis, in the Bale Mountains National Park of Ethiopia. The conservation program attributes examined include population targets for the Ethiopian wolf, increases in the size of the protected habitat area, monitoring outposts, local participation in monitoring, and provision of financial incentives to the local residents. Using a scale extended latent class model, we analyse choice experiment data collected from households living inside, adjacent to and outside the park. We find that preferences for the conservation programs are heterogeneous. Proximity to the park and park associated livelihoods influence residents’ preference for the conservation programs. A significant proportion of residents, predominantly agro-pastoralists, prefer increases in the population of the Ethiopian wolf and receiving financial incentives from wolf-related tourism. Addressing local livelihood interests, and promoting alternative livestock management strategies among rural residents, would help ensure tolerance to and the recovery of the wolf population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106511
JournalEcological Economics
Volume169
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

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