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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 327-339

Understanding Livelihoods for Protected Area Management: Insights from Northern Madagascar


1 Ontario Nature, Toronto, Canada; Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Kent, UK
2 Madagasikara Voakajy, Antananarivo, Madagascar
3 University of Antsiranana, Antsiranana, Madagascar
4 Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Kent, UK

Correspondence Address:
Brittney I Vezina
Ontario Nature, Toronto; Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Kent

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/cs.cs_19_144

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Protected Areas (PAs) are the most common approach to conservation globally; however, their effectiveness is unclear when neighbouring human communities are highly natural resource dependent. While forest-based livelihoods provide important income for rural communities, destructive livelihoods such as charcoal production can also threaten the sustainability of PAs. We aimed to understand drivers of livelihood choices in communities surrounding a proposed PA threatened by charcoal production in northern Madagascar, to inform management strategies that promote forest conservation without negatively impacting local communities. We used semi-structured interviews and focus groups to understand local livelihood dynamics using the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework (SLF). Our findings showed charcoal production to be an important livelihood used to deal with annual food insecurity. Agricultural yields were limited by a lack of assets for clearing land and building protective fences. Households were also hesitant to invest in agriculture due to the perceived risks associated with unpredictable rainfall and cattle grazing. While fishing was an important livelihood for filling income gaps, declining catches due to overexploitation across the study region appeared to be increasing the need for charcoal production. While improvements to agriculture were perceived to be promising strategies for reducing forest-dependence, a landscape approach to conservation in the region will be necessary in order to promote sustainability of all livelihoods and to reduce overall pressures on forest resources.


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