Factors Influencing Landowners' Participation in Wildlife Co-Management in Kenya
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"Co-management of wildlife and other natural resources has increasingly become important because it seeks to create negotiated agreements between state and local communities (other stakeholder groups may also be included) and therefore offers a possibility to overcome conflicts over resource exploitation. On the international level, co-management has received increasing interest because it supports establishment of local authority and responsibility over natural resources management and thereby contributes towards successful achievement of goals of conservation and socioeconomic development. It also fits well into the decentralisation and devolution processes that are now on going in many developing countries as a result of fiscal crises and ensuing reform policies. However, achieving successful co-management is confronted by many challenges, one of the most pressing being ensuring achievement of effective participation of the landowners or resource users in the management process. Effective participation is important because it creates a sense of responsibility, and increases management legitimacy and levels of compliance and hence lowers ex post management costs. However, it cannot be assumed that such and other benefits of participation will always be reaped in any co-management process. Thus, taking two wildlife conservancies in Kenya as an example, this paper analyses how participation should be structured in order to contribute to successful co-management arrangements and determines, through an econometric model, landowners local conditions or factors influencing their participation. "The fieldwork for the results presented in this paper was conducted in the wildlife dispersal areas of Shimba Hills National Reserve and Amboseli National Park in Kenya. Based on a detailed questionnaire, data collection at the landowners households level was conducted through interviews with two stratified random samples, comprising of members and non-members of the two wildlife conservancies. A total of 136 households were interviewed. "The paper shows the importance of incorporating landowners' participation in the early stages (information gaining and negotiations) of the co-management process in order for it to contribute positively to the overall success of management arrangements. The econometric analysis indicates under which conditions the landowners are likely to participate in each specific situation. It is shown that financial, human and social forms of capital are important in enhancing landowners' participation. Heterogeneity of landowners, which is as a result of different cultural, ethical, social and economic characteristics, is identified as a key factor that determines the level of landowners' participation. It is also shown that dependence on wildlife, in terms of derived benefits, is an important incentive to landowners' participation."