Conservation Challenges in Africa

Hi everyone,

This week we have three readings suggested by our guest speaker, Dr. Chantal Stoner:

  1. Newmark, W.D., Manyanza, D.M., Gamassa, D.M., and H.I. Sariko. 1994. The conflict between wildlife and local people living adjacent to protected areas in Tanzania: human density as a predictor. Conservation Biology 8:249-255.

  2. Thirgood, S.J., Mosser, A., Tham, S., Hopcraft, G., Mwangomo, E., Mlengeya, T., Kilewo, M., Fryxell, J.M., Sinclair, A. and Borner, M. 2004. Can parks protect migratory ungulates? The case of the Serengeti wildebeest. Animal Conservation, 7: 113-120.
  3. Struhsaker, T.T., Struhsaker, P.J., and Siex, K.S. 2005. Conserving Africa’s rain forests: problems in protected areas and possible solutions. Biological Conservation 123:45-54. [note: link takes you to an interview with Tom Struhsaker, the lead author of this paper; scroll down to the bottom of the interview for a link to the pdf reprint]

Continue reading below the fold for some discussion points from Chantal.

1) Newmark et al. 1994: This is an older paper but effectively illustrates the conflict between wildlife and human communities on the borders of protected areas in Tanzania. Some things to notice are the percentage of people reporting wildlife problems, differences in the control techniques used by people who felt they effectively controlled wildlife problems versus those who felt they could not, and the types of species that were easiest to control. How do you think people living next to the borders of protected areas view wildlife?

2) Thirgood et al. 2004: This is a case study of the movements of wildebeest relative to the borders of a set of protected areas. The main point of this paper is that a percentage of the wildebeests’ movements fall outside protected area boundaries. (Carnivores similarly tend to have ranges that tended to spill out of protected areas and encounter very high-human inducuded mortalities on the borders of protected areas.) Some things to think about are whether this small percentage is of concern, and whether or not protected areas are an effective conservation strategy for conserving wide-ranging species.

3) Struhsaker et al. 2004: This paper addresses the basic question of whether protected areas are an effective conservation strategy in Africa. In class, my talk will provide a background on a heated debate concerning whether the best strategy to conserve wildlife is to establish strictly protected areas where no human activities are allowed, or replace protected areas with other conservation schemes that include local communities (many strategies try to encompass both philosophies). The Struhsaker et al. 2004 paper is a review of the successes and failures of tropical protected areas in Africa. This paper does a nice job of summarizing the debate but I chose it because it illustrates a common method to assess the effectiveness of difference conservation strategies.

When you read this paper, you might consider the benefits and the weaknesses of Struhsaker’s approach. Do you think this is objective? Are there better ways to determine if a particular conservation strategy is effective? Or, is does this paper present the most realistic and logistically-feasible method of gauging whether a stategy (e.g., a protected area of community conservation project) is working? Do you think money should be allocated toward monitoring programs focusing on the status of wildlife species in protected areas? If you accept Struhsaker’s methodology, what do you think of his findings- do they show that protected areas are effective or not?

The papers will be on the blog or on blackboard. Dr. Katti is helping me put the papers up.

One thought on “Conservation Challenges in Africa

  1. Madhu

    I’ve edited Craig’s post to provide links to online abstracts/reprints of the paper (not all of which are freely available outside of institutional subscriptions). I’ve also uploaded PDFs of all three papers to the course Blackboard site.Email me if you have any trouble accessing the reprints.

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