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Towards harmonious conservation relationships: A framework for understanding protected area staff-local community relationships in developing countries.

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Ngonidzashe Mutanga, C., Vengesayi, S., Muboko, N., Gandiwa, E. (2015) Towards harmonious conservation relationships: A framework for understanding protected area staff-local community relationships in developing countries. Journal for Nature Conservation; Vol. 25: 8-16.

This paper conceptualizes a framework for assessing protected area (PA)–community relationships and is premised on the view that positive PA–community relationships enhance conservation. A meta-synthesis of existing academic literature with a qualitative orientation was used to review the PA staff-community relationships, and data were analyzed using an inductive qualitative approach. From a review of 105 published documents focusing on wildlife conservation, community involvement and PA–community relationships, it emerged that relationships are mostly influenced by attitudes. With the case of PA–community relationships, the question that arises is ‘whose attitude’? The paper proposes that both PA staff attitudes and community attitudes play an important role in shaping these relationships. Based on these findings, we propose a PA–community relationship framework that illuminates the human–wildlife interface as critical space in shaping conservation attitudes. The study concludes that enhanced PA–community relationships promote wildlife conservation through participatory approaches and collaboration between PA staff and communities. The authors recommend for continued assessment and monitoring of PA staff and community relationships in order to allow for sustainable conservation especially in developing countries.

Access the journal article here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1617138115000230.

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