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This paper investigates local recognition of the link between incentive-based program (IBP) benefits and conservation, and how perceptions of benefits and linkage influence attitudes in communities surrounding Chitwan National Park, Nepal. A survey of 189 households conducted between October and December 2004 examined local residents' perceived benefits, their attitudes toward park management, and perception of linkages between conservation and livelihoods. Linkage perceptions were measured by a scale compared with a respondent's recognition of benefits to determine whether IBPs establish a connection between benefits and livelihoods. An attitude scale was also created to compare attitudes toward park management with perceptions of benefits and linkage to determine if IBPs led to positive attitudes, and if the recognition of a direct tie between livelihoods and natural resources made attitudes more favorable. Research results indicate that as acknowledgement of benefit increases, so does the perception of linkage between the resource and livelihoods. Similarly, when perceived benefit increases, so too does attitude towards management. Positive attitude towards park management is influenced more by perception of livelihood dependence on resources than on benefits received from the park. However, overwhelming positive support voiced for conservation did not coincide with conduct. In spite of the positive attitudes and high perception of linkage, people did not necessarily behave in a way compatible with conservation. This suggests that while benefits alone can lead to positive attitudes, without clear linkages to conservation, the IBP may lose persuasion when alternative options-conflicting with conservation objectives-arise promising to provide greater economic benefit.
Department of Geography & Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G1, Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Environmental management
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