Accepted 19th December, 2015
An important question in conservation is how to conserve both the renewable natural resources and abiotic elements of the environment in the face of changing human use patterns. Given that the livelihood of many people depends on the environment, the current challenge facing many nations is no longer deciding whether conservation is a good idea. Rather it is important to know how resources can be conserved in the national conservation interest without affecting the livelihood of the communities dependent on them. It was therefore the aim of this study to document and incorporate some understanding of the local people’s attitudes towards conservation and see how this can be integrated into a programme for the sustainable conservation of natural resources. In order to investigate the attitude of local communities around protected areas/reserves towards the forest and wildlife of their area and to understand the views of a local community about conservation of the area, the use of sample surveys using a semi-structured questionnaire was implemented. A total of 200 people were interviewed, from two villages adjoining Mount Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve (PA), and another two villages located adjacent to a Forest Reserve in the West Usambara Mountains. Results show that the attitudes of people towards conservation differed between the two study areas. A majority (64%) of West Usambara villagers showed a negative attitude whereas 95% of Mount Kilimanjaro villagers supported the need for conservation. This suggests that, in a large country like Tanzania, with diverse ecological zones, cultures and attitudes, different conservation approaches are needed in different areas to cater for these disparities.
Keywords: Conservation, attitudes, Mount Kilimanjaro, Usambara Mountains