FAIRET, EMILIE,MAGUY,MELANIE (2012) Vulnerability to crop-raiding: an interdisciplinary investigation in Loango National Park, Gabon. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.
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Human-wildlife conflict is a major threat to long-term wildlife survival and to subsistence communities’ livelihoods in developing countries, particularly near protected areas. In this thesis, I use an interdisciplinary approach based on a threefold vulnerability framework to examine the specific issue of crop-raiding in Loango National Park, Gabon. First, I investigate the context of conservation at the study site, and how this limits, or intensifies, conflict over wildlife. People in Loango have an understanding of sustainability that shares common ground with modern conservation principles. However, local people resent and resist current conservation practices, which exclude local communities, threaten local environmental entitlement and thus exacerbate institutional vulnerability to crop-raiding. Next, I examine biophysical vulnerability to crop-raiding and find that elephants cause the most crop damage in Loango. Crop-raiding by elephants, when considered at the scale of the study site, follows a seasonal pattern which probably results from elephants’ use of water points. However, field isolation and surrounding forest types render some fields more vulnerable than others. Farmers use diverse deterrent methods to limit raids, but none seem effective. The lack of efficacy of deterrents stems from lack of access to labour, driven by rural exodus, which prevents their successful implementation. State mitigation strategies exist but are inadequate and ineffective. Demographic changes also make farmers increasingly vulnerable to poverty, which ultimately increases social vulnerability to crop-raiding. The consequences of crop-raiding, which span from increased food and economic insecurity to social marginalisation, create a negative spiral of vulnerability to poverty and to crop-raiding. Ultimately, spatial and social isolation are the main factors driving vulnerability to crop-raiding in Loango, and both need to be addressed. Vulnerability proves to be a very appropriate analytical framework for the holistic investigation of crop-raiding, and I recommend its use in future research on human-wildlife conflicts and in conservation.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Doctoral)|
|Award:||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Keywords:||Crop-raiding, vulnerability, conservation, Gabon,|
|Faculty and Department:||Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Anthropology, Department of|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||26 Feb 2013 09:10|