4 years ago

Pathways to improve park-people relationships: Gendered attitude changes in Chatthin Wildlife Sanctuary, Myanmar

The relationships that local residents have with protected areas present many challenges for protected area management. The objective of this paper is to explore the gendered impact of a protected area management strategy on communities around Chatthin Wildlife Sanctuary in central Myanmar. Based on a survey that captured local people's attitudes toward the sanctuary, the warden modified the management strategy to accommodate local needs and perceptions. When the survey was repeated four years later, people were significantly more likely to like the sanctuary, less likely to mention problems, and more likely to mention benefits. Disaggregating changes by gender revealed that women's and men's perceptions changed in different ways. Women’s perceptions primarily improved through an increase in positive perceptions, such as conservation and ecosystem service benefits, while men's perceptions improved primarily through a decrease in negative perceptions, such as problems with extraction and protected area management. In other words, women's attitudes were improved through increasing their understanding of the positive benefits of conservation while men's attitudes improved through mitigating the conflict aspects. Our results align with research in other fields that has found that positive messaging has more impact on women while problem-solving resonates more with men. These results indicate that the promotion of protected area benefits and the mitigation of park-people conflicts can be distinct pathways for improving people's attitudes toward protected areas. More broadly, these results suggest that protected area managers should consider how management impact different groups and tailor outreach messages for different groups.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0006320717301143

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