Complex effects of natural disasters on protected areas
Virtanen, P., Cristóvão, L., & Mourinho, J. (2022). Complex effects of natural disasters on protected areas. In R. Musavengane, & L. Leonard (Eds.), Conservation, Land Conflicts, and Sustainable Tourism in Southern Africa : Contemporary Issues and Approaches (pp. 71-84). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003188902-7
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© Contributors, 2022
It is now broadly recognised that in order to be sustainable, protected areas (PAs) must bring concrete benefits to local populations who suffer from the restrictions imposed for conservation. Natural disasters, such as major floods, bring additional challenges to conservation efforts and related support activities, notably nature-based tourism. Disasters often intensify conflicts between conservation objectives and local community needs, but they may also bring some mutual benefits. Reduced income from decreased nature-based tourism can, for example, lead to expansion of agricultural fields to protected forests, and subsequent land-use conflicts. Yet, disasters can also strengthen feelings of solidarity and result in additional investment in the area for both income-generating activities and production of services. This chapter is based on comparative analysis of the impact of Cyclone Idai in two contrasting PAs in Mozambique, the national parks of Chimanimani and Gorongosa. The former is a relatively little known PA, where local benefits derive mainly from nature-based tourism operated by a small community-based venture, and other activities are supported by a variegated set of externally funded microprojects. The latter is a renowned sanctuary operated as a public-private joint venture, which enjoys ample funding from various private and public donors. In addition to donor funding, Gorongosa partakes of substantial income from upmarket ecotourism ventures operated by private companies. The comparative set-up of the study therefore provides a good opportunity to examine the complex ways such unexpected challenges may change the prospects of different types of ecotourism ventures – and the situation of local populations. ...
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