Protected areas, wildlife-based community tourism and community livelihoods dynamics: spiraling up and down of community capitals
Participation in wildlife-based community tourism within and around protected areas is seen as a tool to link biodiversity conservation and community livelihoods improvement. However, there is a deficiency of frameworks currently used to understand complex and dynamic relationships that exist among conservation, tourism and development. The community capitals framework is adopted to assess these linkages from a systems-thinking perspective in which community capitals’ stock and flow, explained by a community's participation in tourism determines the direction of change. Results of the Chobe Enclave Conservation Trust in Botswana indicate that all community capitals are interdependent and play a dynamic role in shaping the spiraling of community livelihoods. Participation in tourism led to both the spiraling up and down of community capitals. The spiraling up of community capitals is explained by increased livelihoods and diversification options facilitated by increased tourism income. The spiraling down is explained by the heightened human–wildlife conflicts and fragile wildlife–livestock co-existence, which led to livestock diseases, loss of beef market and the ecosystems’ fragmentation through the introduction of veterinary fences. Thus, the spiraling of community capitals is explained by the transformation of one stock of community capital to another in a systems-thinking dynamics fashion.
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