Conservation resettlement is a controversial issue in balancing biological
conservation with the people’s social and economic needs. Very few studies have
examined the conservation resettlement outcome, and majority of them view resettlement
as counterintuitive to the people’s livelihood in the name of biological conservation. This
thesis focuses on residents’ responses on social, economic and environmental
consequences of a voluntary resettlement.
Studies of forced resettlement during the creation and maintenance of national
parks and protected areas have found negative socioeconomic consequences for human
wellbeing. I investigated residents’ social and economic wellbeing following a citizeninitiated
resettlement program in Padampur, Nepal. We found a difference between
voluntary and forced resettlement respondents in overall satisfaction as well as evaluation
of land quality and employment factors. However, there was no difference in their
evaluation of land ownership, housing, physical infrastructure, health, social ties, and
support services as having positive outcomes. Most respondents reported being socially
and economically better off in the new location. In the future, economic status, food and nutrition, and marginalization of some groups could potentially reduce satisfaction.
Residents’ post resettlement economic wellbeing is an important factor in
balancing conservation and socioeconomic needs. After the resettlement, we found more
residents were engaged in off-farm jobs, micro-enterprises, and physical facilities which
were serving their needs. Our findings suggest that considering the following factors in
resettlement planning may provide better post resettlement economic wellbeing: a)
participatory and bottom up planning; b) fair compensation of physical asset; and c) provision of basic needs for water, and facilities for health and education. I emphasize the
need of participatory resettlement planning models, and feel that the results have general
applications to resettlement efforts.
To see the biological aspects of the resettlement, I assessed the prey abundance in
the evacuated area in comparison to the abundance in the park core area. I have chosen
Sambar Unit (SU) as a measurement unit to assess the prey abundance. SU is significant
with more prey abundance in the evacuated area than the core area of the park. Residents’
perceived biodiversity loss and gain was assessed in both locations (old and new). After the resettlement, residents’ positive perception in restoring wildlife habitat in the old site
decreased pressure and decreased human wildlife conflicts. In the new site, I found
increased understanding on sustainable utilization of natural resources through
community forestry by reducing forest dependency. I suggest the need of periodic
monitoring of post resettlement biological and socioeconomic gains to evaluate the long
term viability of voluntary resettlement for conservation and residents’ better wellbeing.
We suggest future conservation related resettlement consider lessons from the Padampur model.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2011. Major: Conservation Biology. Advisors: Dr. Kristen C. Nelson & Dr. James L. David Smith. 1 computer file (PDF) xi, 114 pages.
Dhakal, Narayan P..
Assessment of residents' social and economic Wellbeing in conservation resettlement: a case study of Padampur, Chitwan National Park, Nepal..
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