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Human migration, protected areas, and conservation outreach in Tanzania

  • Author(s): Salerno, JD
  • Mulder, MB
  • Kefauver, SC
  • et al.
Abstract

A recent discussion debates the extent of human in-migration around protected areas (PAs) in the tropics. One proposed argument is that rural migrants move to bordering areas to access conservation outreach benefits. A counter proposal maintains that PAs have largely negative effects on local populations and that outreach initiatives even if successful present insufficient benefits to drive in-migration. Using data from Tanzania, we examined merits of statistical tests and spatial methods used previously to evaluate migration near PAs and applied hierarchical modeling with appropriate controls for demographic and geographic factors to advance the debate. Areas bordering national parks in Tanzania did not have elevated rates of in-migration. Low baseline population density and high vegetation productivity with low interannual variation rather than conservation outreach explained observed migration patterns. More generally we argue that to produce results of conservation policy significance, analyses must be conducted at appropriate scales, and we caution against use of demographic data without appropriate controls when drawing conclusions about migration dynamics. © 2014 Society for Conservation Biology.

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