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Do protected areas and conservation incentives contribute to sustainable livelihoods? A case study of Bardia National Park, Nepal

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 15:31 authored by Shova Thapa KarkiShova Thapa Karki
Effective biodiversity protection and improved human welfare as ‘win–win’ situations have been the foundation for protected areas and conservation incentives. However, conserving land in this way can become a development issue that restricts agricultural expansion and resource exploitation, with potentially substantial costs to people living in conditions of high social impoverishment and high critical natural capital. This paper investigates whether Nepal's Bardia National Park and conservation incentives have contributed to the sustainable livelihoods of households. Data on household livelihoods and conservation benefits were collected through a questionnaire survey of 358 households and community workshops in three villages. Different impacts on household livelihoods were observed between the villages. It was found that these impacts were dependent on household characteristics, access to prior capital, and the social position of the household within society. Households lacking resources, being poor and belonging to lower castes were least included and also benefited less from development projects. As finance in the form of development projects from organisations continues to flow to the communities, it is important that detailed livelihood planning focussing on alternative regenerative livelihoods and micro-enterprises in the informal sector is included to target those households that are highly dependent on park resources. Livelihood planning must also include a clear linkage between livelihood enhancing activities and the conservation programme so that communities are aware that the benefits they receive are due to the protected area. Appreciation of benefits and their positive impact on livelihoods is important for the sustainability of incentive-based programmes.


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  • Published


Journal of Environmental Management







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  • Business and Management Publications

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  • Yes

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