Conservation benefit-sharing mechanisms and their effectiveness in the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem: Local communities’ perspectives

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Benefit-sharing mechanisms have been instrumental in securing the support of local communities living on the edge of protected areas to implement protected area goals and enhance biodiversity conservation outcomes. Understanding the acceptability of the types of benefit provided among diverse communities is crucial for co-designing benefit-sharing approaches that accommodate local perspectives. Here, we used quasi-structured questionnaires and focus group discussions (FGD) to assess the acceptance of the types of benefit received by the communities in the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem (GSE) in Tanzania and the effectiveness of the benefits in securing community support for conservation reserves. We found that the categories of social service provision, livelihood support, and employment described all the benefits provided across conservation institutions operating in the GSE. However, the types of benefit within these categories varied significantly among conservation institutions, in terms of level and frequency of benefits received by communities. Overall, student scholarships were highly rated by respondents as the most satisfying benefit received. Respondents who were dissatisfied with the benefits received thought that the benefits did not compensate for the high costs arising from wildlife incursions onto their land. Communities’ acceptance of the benefits received varied greatly among villages, but only a small proportion of pooled respondents (22%) were willing to support the existence of a protected area without benefit. This study suggests that local people are willing to support conservation outcomes but require conservation institutions to give greater consideration to the costs incurred by communities, their livelihood needs, and access to natural resources or other benefits. We recommend that benefit-sharing be tailored to the local circumstances and cultures of people living close to protected areas, particularly communities expressing more negative views, to ensure adequate and appropriate compensation is provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1901-1930
Number of pages30
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number6
Early online date6 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


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