Problems of public participation in biodiversity conservation: the Nigerian scenario
Most theories regarding Nigerian biodiversity conservation systems suggest that there is generally a very low level of community involvement. Also, the majority of people in the researched areas are illiterate and antagonistic to the idea of conserving the area's rich diversity. This paper evaluates the relationships between donor agencies and the local people concerning participation in biodiversity conservation in the national parks. It also highlights the problems and the criteria required for effective local participation. The researchers sampled a total of 100 respondents from the Akampka Local Government Area of Cross River State, a forest community in the Cross River National Park. Twenty-five persons were randomly selected from each of the four communities selected for the study, and key informant interviews and focus group discussions were used to elicit data. Results show that the local people are not properly involved in the conservation of their forest, and were not benefiting from the conservation project. This has created problems with regard to the government's position of total conservation and community living conditions. Recommendations are made on how to integrate public participation into conservation projects.
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