Protected areas and community costs: A comparative study of cases from Zimbabwe
Dr. Tanyaradzwa Chigonda
Communities adjacent to protected areas worldwide endure various costs from conservation areas. This study compared livelihood costs from the Mahenye community-conserved area and the Malilangwe private wildlife reserve in south-eastern Zimbabwe to the Mahenye and Chizvirizvi communities respectively. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were used in undertaking primary research in the case study communities. Among the livelihood costs common to both the Mahenye and Chizvirizvi residents from the two conservation areas included loss of land and curtailed access to traditionally used resources. Additional livelihood costs peculiar to Mahenye residents included the devouring of crops and livestock by wild animals, loss of human life or injury by wildlife and the spreading of wildlife diseases to livestock. With the exception of quelea birds infesting fields of small-grained crops, an electric fence around Malilangwe has eliminated most livelihood costs from the private protected area’s wildlife to Chizvirizvi. The identified livelihood costs from the two conservation areas have further been aggravated by lack of compensation to affected households. Measures should be taken to strengthen problem animal control in Mahenye, while both conservation areas should come up with some compensation criteria to cover affected households.