Compensating for human-wildlife conflicts among forest-adjacent communities: perspectives from the Northern Albertine Region of Uganda
Muhindo, Crispus Baguma
MetadataShow full item record
Compensating for losses and damages brought about by conservation of wildlife is one of the globally applied techniques in mitigating Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) thereby ensuring survival of wildlife populations. Designing effective compensation schemes requires knowledge of attitudes and perceptions of affected communities as well as their willingness to participate in different models and approaches of HWC compensation. This study had the following objectives to (i) assess the attitudes and perceptions of forest-adjacent communities on human-wildlife coexistence (ii) determine the willingness of local communities to participate in different models and approaches of HWC compensation schemes (iii) determine success factors for HWC compensation schemes (iv) determine constraints to performance of HWC compensation schemes at a landscape level. Data from a survey of six hundred forty-six households and six focus group discussions in forest-adjacent communities was collected. Nine key informant interviews were conducted among staff of government agencies, conservation Non-Governmental Organisations and community members. The results indicated that the communities generally held negative attitudes and perceptions on human-wildlife co-existence. However, the Kasongoire forest communities (in Masindi district), where compensation was being implemented, were more positive about human-wildlife co-existence compared to the Bugoma communities (in Kikuube district) where there was no compensation. Communities perceived conservation organisations as caring more for the wildlife- than human welfare. Attitudes and perceptions were associated with sex, proximity to wildlife habitat, level of education and presence of HWC compensation mechanism. Reimbursement was the most preferred model of compensation, followed by conservation performance payment and resettlement respectively. Compensation by cash, rather than in-kind, was the most preferred whereas ex-ante payment was slightly more preferred to ex-post compensation by the local communities. Majority of the respondents were willing to contribute to the compensation fund but low-income earners were less likely to contribute. About 77.1% of the respondents were willing to receive partial compensation. The results also show that fair payment, low transaction costs, quick verification of damages, corruption-free and granting community ownership of the scheme are some of the most important success factors of a compensation scheme. This study highlights failure to manage public expectations, poor coordination among key players in the HWC landscape, lack of clear-cut guidelines and policies on damage estimation, verification and payment procedures and inadequate funding among the key constraints of implementing of HWC compensation. Promoting equitable distribution of benefits of conservation between Protected Area (PA) authorities and PA communities, flexibility in the implementation of compensation models and approaches, and running a robust verification procedure that minimises bureaucracies for claimants are highly recommended.