Land use plans and wildlife-Inflicted crop damage in Zambia's Game Management Areas

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Subakanya, Mitelo
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The University of Zambia
Previous studies have shown that Game Management Areas (GMAs) are associated with high incidences of wildlife-inflicted crop damage. Although land use plans are hoped to help minimize such damages, their effectiveness is yet to be determined. Often, in Zambia land use planning and evaluation is constrained by data scarcity. On paper, land use plans are supposed to be evaluated every 5 years but this has never happened. Currently only two GMAs have land use plans. This study aims to determine the impact of land use planning on wildlife-inflicted crop damage in the GMAs using data from the 2006 "Impact of Game Management Areas on Household Welfare (IGMAW)" survey. The IGMAW survey was conducted by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) with financial and technical support from the World Bank (WB). It covered areas adjacent to four national park systems - Bangweulu, Kafue, Lower Zambezi and Luangwa national parks - and involved 2,768 household interviews and 135 community interviews. A Double Hurdle Model was used to estimate the impact of land use plans on the probability and extent of wildlife-inflicted crop damage. The results show that crop damage is higher in GMAs (compared to non-GMAs) and that land use plans could be an effective tool to significantly reduce the likelihood of such damage. The probability of crop damage can be reduced by as much as 4.77 percent and 8.74 percent in prime and secondary/specialized GMAs, respectively. The effects are significantly greater and more significant if the community sets aside some land for wildlife habitat as part of the implementation of the plan. These findings suggest that there is merit in the current drive to develop and implement land use plans as means to minimize human-wildlife conflict such as crop damage. Minimizing this conflict in the agriculture-based livelihood systems found in GMAs is one of the key ingredients for the successful implementation of sustainable wildlife conservation models. This is especially critical as Zambian conservation policies do not have an explicit provision for compensation in the event of damage fi-om wildlife.
Human-Animal relationships-Zambia , Wildlife management-Zambia