This paper explores the perceived forms, and drivers of forest dependence at Volcanoes National Park. Using focus group interviews, we explored the perceptions of forest adjacent residents with direct access to conservation incentives, residents with no direct access to conservation incentives, and senior park managers. The paper reveals dominant forms of forest dependence, including, hunting for bushmeat, extraction of bamboo, bean-stakes, grass for cattle feed, and water for domestic use. The paper also reveals the primary drivers of forest dependence, including, food security constraints, and increase in the market demand of forest products. In addition, animal crop raiding was observed to be the main driver of food security constraints at the park. There were several notable variations in the perceptions. While residents attribute forest dependence to food security constraints, park managers attribute it to the increasing demand of forest products, resentment, stubbornness, and lack of jobs. It is argued that varied perceptions between park managers and residents could negatively affect conservation policies. Therefore, active participation of residents in all forms of wildlife conservation is strongly suggested. Several questions for future research are suggested. Notably, could conservation incentives influence increased demand of forest products, forest dependence, and biodiversity loss?.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Sociology and Political Science
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law