DEVELOPING NATURE-BASED TOURISM IN IMO STATE, NIGERIA THROUGH STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT FOR BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION
Asian Journal of Advances in Research, Volume 17, Issue 4,
Rural communities in Imo state, Nigeria have for centuries preserved monkey habitats via traditional conservation practices (TCP). Research has barely addressed recuring human wildlife conflicts (HWC) and challenges faced by communities who derive no economic or social benefits from their monkeys. This study was aimed at investigating how nature-based tourism (NBT) development implemented though stakeholder engagement could aid biodiversity conservation. Adopting a qualitative method, in-depth interviews (n=25) were conducted with key informants in Lagwa and Ejemekwuru and stakeholders outside the communities. Data was triangulated by observing human-monkey interactions in the locales and monkeys in habitats. Findings reveal that HWC persist due to reducing forest cover and residences/habitats proximity. Locals are uneasy but have no motivation to protect monkeys and habitats, so the TCP is waning. Identified stakeholders are enthusiastic, possess capacity to adopt and would support NBT development. Optimism was high that NBT would stem HWC, empower communities, provide income and help conservation. Processes for stakeholders to achieve conservation through NBT development are recommended. Clear and shared goals, consistent with community aspirations can be achieved by pursuit of conservation education in communities, improvement, reforestation and delineation of habitats. Concessions is recommended to multidisciplinary consortiums with proven technical and financial capabilities. This study could enhance policy and knowledge, while the recommendations would assist service providers, and initiate positive change in the investigated subject fields.
- Biodiversity conservation
- human-wildlife conflicts
- nature-based tourism
- stakeholder engagement
- multidisciplinary tourism concessions
How to Cite
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