Environmental Conservation


Spatial patterns of illegal resource extraction in Kibale National Park, Uganda


a1 Department of Geography, McGill University, 805 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal, Quebec H3A 2K6, Canada

a2 McGill School of Environment and Department of Anthropology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3A 2T7, Canada

a3 Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, New York, NY, USA


Conservation policy typically excludes people from national parks and manages encroachment by law enforcement. However, local people continue to extract resources from protected areas by boundary encroachment and poaching. This paper quantifies the patterns of illegal resource extraction from Kibale National Park in Uganda, the demand for Park resources by communities bordering the Park, and examines whether designated resource access agreements reduce illegal extraction. Sections of the Park boundary were examined and human entry trails, wood extraction, livestock grazing, and animal poaching signs were quantified. Levels of illegal extraction were compared with the demand for and admitted illegal access to resources inside the Park, collected in a survey of households located near the Park. Extraction was also compared between villages with and without negotiated resources access agreements. The most wanted and extracted resource from the Park was wood for fuel and construction. Implementation of resource access agreements with local community associations was found to be an effective means of reducing illegal extraction, but only if the association members profited from the agreement.

(Received July 26 2010)

(Accepted January 13 2011)

(Online publication June 21 2011)


c1 Correspondence: Catrina MacKenzie e-mail: catrina.mackenzie@mail.mcgill.ca