Linking communities with conservation in developing countries: buffer zone management initiatives in Nepal
Sustained and effective biodiversity conservation in a developing country such as Nepal is faced with the increasing pressure that the growing population exerts on the country's natural resources. Nepal has adopted a community-based approach to conservation management, including sharing of revenues from protected areas with local people living in the buffer zones around protected areas. The aim is to mitigate conflicts. This paper discusses the evolution of conservation policy for buffer zones in Nepal. The strengths and weaknesses of buffer zone policy are analysed, and the efforts to put policy into practice are examined and discussed. The analysis of buffer zone initiatives reveals that there are inconsistencies between the vision of the programme and its policies and practices. For better integration of conservation and development objectives, empowerment and equity in benefit sharing and gender issues need to be adequately incorporated in buffer zone policy and programme implementation.(Received December 23 2002)
(Revised June 19 2003)
(Accepted January 20 2004)
Key Words: Biodiversity; buffer zone; community-based conservation; Nepal; protected areas.