Many protected areas or parks in developing countries have buffer zones at their boundaries to achieve the dual goals of protecting park resources and providing resource benefits to neighbouring people.
Despite the prevalence of these zoning policies, few behavioural models of people's buffer zone use inform the sizing and management of those zones. This paper uses a spatially explicit resource extraction model to examine the impact of buffer zone size and management on extraction by local people, both legal and illegal, and the impact of that extraction on forest quality in the park's core and buffer zone. The results demonstrate trade-offs between the level of enforcement, the size of a buffer zone, and the amount of illegal extraction in the park; and describe implications for “enrichment” of buffer zones and evaluating patterns of forest degradation.
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