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Local Community’s Perceptions and Attitudes towards Protected Areas and Ecotourism Management – The Case of Kakum Conservation Area, Ghana Raphael Foli.

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Presentation on theme: "Local Community’s Perceptions and Attitudes towards Protected Areas and Ecotourism Management – The Case of Kakum Conservation Area, Ghana Raphael Foli."— Presentation transcript:

1 Local Community’s Perceptions and Attitudes towards Protected Areas and Ecotourism Management – The Case of Kakum Conservation Area, Ghana Raphael Foli Fiagbomeh (MSc.) Renate Bürger-Arndt (Prof. Dr.) Department of Nature Conservation and Landscape Managment, Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology, Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Germany 2nd World Ecotourism Conference 2010, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 8 - 11th July 2010

2 Protected Areas and Ecotourism PAs are contributing to ensure conservation of biodiversity around the world Local people have long standing relationship with the areas Conversion of forest to agricultural land, mining, extensive timber extraction, and wildfires contribute to degradation and fragmentation of forest cover 5.6% of country‘s land under conservation as wildlife reserves Stakeholder involvement in development process is a factor for success

3 many examples of local communities being excluded or minimally involved in the initial planning and management of PAs Conservationists seek maximum protection of natural resources; tourism industry want pristine and attractive sites PAs are expected to play roles in ensuring sustainability of local communities Particularly interested in effects of ecotourism management and activities on conservation and community development; ecotourism touted to finance conservation activities To improve on protected area management, perceptions and attitudes of adjacent local communities needs to be understood

4 Develop appropriate strategies to ensure conservation objectives are achieved Study assumes perception and attitudes towards PAs depend on perceived costs and benefits Local people’s perceptions are determined by their values and frames of references (ecological, social-economic and cultural) Demographic factors can significantly influence attitudes of local people It remains to be demonstrated whether non-involvement has effect on conservation efforts in the Kakum Conservation Area

5 Study Area 360 km² Upper Guniea Forest home to 40 mammal species, including 5 endangered species over 200 birds species 400 species of butterfly surrounded by cash and food crop farms, important for conservation as habitat for wildlife species biodiversity hotspot in the world Major tourist sites in Ghana B A C

6 Inception of tourism activities in Kakum Camping shed Tree Platform – observation post for Elephants Walking trail in Kakum The Canopy walkway

7 Trends of visitations in the Kakum Conservation Area progressive increase in visitation, 609 in 1992 to over 96,500 in 2008 average of over 8,000 visitors per month in 2008

8 CharacteristicsGroupCommunity ClusterTotal (%) ABC Age (years)<30 years6107 (5.0%) 30-50 years31202677 (54.6%) >50 years19211757 (40.4%) GenderMale21232266 (46.8%) Female35192175 (53.2%) EducationIlliterate8142345 (31.9%) ≤ JSS47282095 (67.4%) ≥ SSS1001 (0.7%) Demographic data and characteristics of sample Community cluster: A=(Abrafo, Mfuom); B=(Afeaso, Antwikwaa, Bobi); C=(Kruwa, Mesomagor, Obengkrom); JSS = Junior Secondary School; SSS= Senior Secondary School 141 households in eight communities within KCA mean age = 48.2 years (oldest = 72 years; youngest = 20 years) average household size 8.01 (range: min =2, max = 16 individuals )

9 Perceptions of local people on Kakum Increased wildlife population: Local people are not in agreement on level of impacts 67.4% respondents perceive increase in wildlife population Gender, ownership of land, and community of residence were significant influencing factors Community cluster B (Afeaso, Antwikwaa and Bobi) perceived increase in wildlife population than cluster C (Kruwa, Mesomagor and Obengkrom)

10 Sustained / improved forest resources: 58.9% perceive improvement in forest vegetation Influencing factors: gender, age and community Community cluster B (Afeaso, Antwikwaa and Bobi) and age group 30 – 50 years

11 Improved local area rainfall: 56% disagree on reliable local area rainfall pattern Community cluster A (Abrafo and Mfuom) and male respondents mostly disagreed Perceived losses !

12 Attitude of local people towards Kakum Local people would support conservation of forest and associated resources if their needs would be given prominence 89.4% claim community interests are not paramount to management authorities only 12% respondents ever involved in conservation management related meeting no functional management groups in communities Observed that local residents were ready to support conservation as long as it did not threaten their interests and livelihood; strong opposition against conservation has been reported due to increased crop damage and associated costs

13 Increase size of conservation area - buffer zone: 66.7% disapproved idea of increasing size of PA for buffer zone Community of residence and ownership of land were influencing factors Community clusters A and C express alienation due to non payment of royalties

14 Perceived impacts of ecotourism in Kakum Ecotourism is to promote sustainable development of local populations Prices of most forest products increased 58.2% claim ecotourism plays no role in improving livelihood of local people Ecotourism is not beneficial to adjacent communities (Χ² = 30.98, p < 0.001) Gender was the most significant factor Perceptions of ecotourism’s impact

15 Attitudes of local people and desirable future for ecotourism in Kakum Due to the abysmal contribution of ecotourism to development, only 14% approved of tourism activities in the conservation area 41.8% agreed tourism activities extended to include tourists visits to communities (Χ² = 23.1, p = 0.002) 75.2% want jobs in conservation activities and ecotourism programme Majority (91.5%), never engaged in ecotourism related livelihood activity Which activities would respondents desire to take up as job opportunity?

16 Identified and Desired Opportunities in Ecotourism 35% identified tour guide as job opportunity 18% could not identify any activity for job 33% were open to any activity for job, 21% desired tour guide, 26% not interested in any activity identified 13.5% identified home stay

17 What could be impediments in taking advantage of job opportunities? Identified impediments to working Ecotourism Females: family responsibilities 24%, training 17%, location 13% Males: opportunity 27%, training 23%, health/age 15% Interest to take up opportunities is low

18 Limited evidence of positive contribution mad to communities – local economic situation, infrastructure and social benefits Study observe a contradiction of the theoretical concept of ecotourism in Kakum Difficulty in ensuring protection of conservation area Tourist-Local PeopleSituation/Observation Opportunity for interactionAbsent-Low Increased incomeNo Participating in planningNo Attitude to ecotourism impact on community / PA Variable Cultural interactionAbsent Relationship between local people and ecotourism

19 Conclusion Ecotourism developed to ensure viability and source of finance for the PA Contrary to expectations, ecotourism in Kakum is not meant for community development A dismaying feature of Kakum - though tourist visit seem increasing, conservation efforts would continue to face challenges since local people are not adequately involved in planning and management To mitigate potential conflict of interest between park and local people: Urgent to develop employment opportunities for local people and establish appropriate compensation mechanism If ecotourism is to play a part in development around the conservation area, management should address issue of benefit sharing Actively involve local people in planning and management Ensure that ecotourism development does not limit local access to tourism market

20 encourage tourist activities be extended to include visits to village communities Over 91.5% respondents have never engaged in livelihood activity related to ecotourism. Therefore this support for extending tourism activities might reflect a desire for any form of development rather than conviction about its benefits. The study noted that most respondents have no clear perception of impacts of ecotourism on livelihoods. This is also an indication that ecotourism has so far not been beneficial to local people in the Kakum The study could not demonstrate that benefits from ecotourism engender support for conservation. However, it identified that gender, community of residence, ownership of land, education, and age have close associations with local people’s attitudes towards conservation and ecotourism management in Kakum Further detailed studies, conducted longitudinally over time, taking into account other relationships between people and protected areas could provide greater insights into the mechanisms that shape local attitudes towards conservation in this area and other PAs in the country. Thank You for Your Attention

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