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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Factors affecting the efficacy of biodiversity conservation in tropical protected areas : a case study in Xishuangbanna, southwestern China Chen, Cheng


Protected areas have long been considered the backbone of biodiversity conservation strategies. However, whether protected areas are truly effective at conserving biodiversity remains an important question. Factors affecting the efficacy of biodiversity conservation in protected area are complex - human population density, policy enforcement, and local community attitudes towards conservation could all influence conservation outcomes. In this study, I measured how attitudes towards conservation and perception of law enforcement (based on 354 questionnaire surveys) in communities surrounding protected areas was associated with wildlife within the protected areas. I used motion-triggered camera traps (12,148 camera-trap days in total) and Bayesian hierarchical statistical models to estimate occupancy rates for four commonly hunted mammal species, as well as the species richness of medium- to large-sized mammals in six protected areas in Xishuangbanna, southern China, a diverse sub-tropical region with high hunting and land conversion pressures. I found that abundance of the large size species-wild boar (Sus scrofa) and small size Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), was positively correlated with park size. However, the villager-reported number of punishments the park meted out for law violations, and the villager-reported frequency of outreach by park staff to the local communities did not have significant effects on population size as well as richness of wildlife. Mammal diversity of mammal across parks was more correlated with villager-reported law enforcement effort than with outreach, even in parks surrounded by large human populations. My study highlighted the importance of reserve size, adequate habitat is the key of maintaining wildlife population in this area. My study provides insights that protected areas that have stricter enforcement as well as more frequent outreach activities could be more effective and our approach is applicable to assess effects of conservation actions on wildlife.

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