Master’s Thesis Final Defense - Ariane LeClerq - May 5

Date: May 5, 2016
Time: 12:15 p.m.
Location: Natural Resources RM 320

Local Perceptions of Alternative Livelihood Programs in the Buffer Zone around Bardia National Park, Nepal

Master’s Thesis Final Defense


Ariane LeClerq

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Time: 12:15 p.m.

Room: 320, Natural Resource Building


Around the world, effective solutions are needed to support communities to live in harmony with protected natural areas.  Alternative livelihood programs are a possible way to give people sources of income that do not detract from the natural environment.  These types of programs have been in effect, in various iterations, for about twenty years, however, there has not been much study dedicated to local participants’ opinions of these programs. In Nepal, many rural people are extremely dependent on forest resources such as firewood, thatch grass, and animal fodder to meet daily survival needs. This pressure on the forest has become a serious problem as resources are depleted and habitat for wild animals is shrinking. The National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), a local environmental organization, has introduced alternative livelihood programs to communities in buffer zones around Bardia National Park, in the western lowlands of Nepal. The purpose of these interventions is to give local communities more diverse opportunities for income and thus reduce the pressure on natural resources in the buffer zone as well as national park forests. In addition, many of these programs are designed to reduce human-wildlife conflict. To date, there has been minimal evaluation to determine if these programs are succeeding in their goal to support local communities, while simultaneously improving buffer zone forests and reducing human-wildlife conflict. This study takes a qualitative approach, using interviews and focus group discussions with participants to understand whether local people find the alternative livelihood interventions worthwhile and beneficial. This study also reports information on whether local people have changed their use of the forest and if there has been any reduction in human-wildlife conflict due to these interventions. Finally, this study attempts to reveal if there are gendered costs and benefits to these programs.

Committee Members

  • Dr. John Kerr, Chairperson
  • Dr. Maria Claudia Lopez
  • Dr. Meredith Gore