Effects of wildlife resources on community welfare in Southern Africa

Peer Reviewed
1 January 2016

This paper demonstrates the importance of wildlife in the portfolio of environmental income in the livelihoods of
poor rural communities living adjacent to a national park. The results show that wealthier households use more
wildlife resources in total than do relatively poor households. However, poorer households derive greater proportional
benefit than wealthier households from the use of wildlife resources. Excluding wildlife understates
the relative contribution of environmental resources while at the same time overstating the relative contribution
of farm and wage income.Wildlife income alone accounts for about a 5.5% reduction in the proportion of people
living below the poverty line. Furthermore, wildlife income has an equalizing effect, bringing about a 5.4% reduction
in measured inequality. Regression analysis suggests that the likelihood of belonging to a wealthier category
of income increases with an increase in environmental income. As expected, household wealth significantly and
positively affects environmental income generated by households. This seems to suggest that wildlife-based land
reform also needs to empower poor households in the area of capital accumulation while imposing restraints on
the use of capital investments by well-off households to harvest wildlife.

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Publication | 29 September 2016