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Development AND Gorillas? Assessing fifteen years of integrated conservation and development in south-western Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are two afromontane forests considered as extremely important biodiversity areas, with global significance, due to their population of highly endangered Mountain Gorilla. Threats to the two parks include uncontrolled exploitation of forest resources as well as fire damage and the indirect pressures of demand for land. In response to these threats, a range of “integrated conservation and development” strategies have been applied in and around Bwindi and Mgahinga.

This report summarises the findings of a study which tested the effectiveness of these strategies in reconciling biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development interests. It confirms the validity of the assumption that linking local people to a resource and helping generate a steady stream of benefits increases willingness to manage and protect that resource, over the long term but notes inconclusive evidence that providing alternative livelihoods is an effective conservation strategy.

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Great Ape conservation organisations are increasingly aware of the need to address poverty if they are to be successful in their efforts to conserve habitats and protect dwindling Great Ape populations. This project aims to encourage the involvement of Great Ape conservation organisations in the Poverty and Conservation Learning Group (PCLG) to promote shared learning.

More at www.iied.org:
Linking ape conservation with poverty alleviation