In Tanzania, community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) of wildlife occurs through wildlife management areas (WMAs). The WMAs consist of multiple villages designating land and managing it for wildlife conservation in return for a portion of subsequent tourism revenues. The ecological success or failure of WMAs for wildlife conservation is rarely quantified but is important for evaluating the efficacy of specific projects and the general concept of CBNRM. I used 3 analyses to evaluate the ecological effectiveness of wildlife conservation actions in the Burunge WMA. I compared wildlife and livestock densities inside and outside a WMA using 1 year of distance sampling data and compared wild and domestic ungulate densities before and after the implementation of management changes that increased wildlife protections within a subsection of Burunge WMA using 6 years of distance sampling surveys. I also compared giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) survival and population growth rate before and after the implementation of management changes that increased wildlife protections in a subsection of Burunge WMA using 5 years of photographic capture-recapture data. I found greater densities of wildlife and lower densities of livestock inside the WMA compared with outside. After the management changes, I documented significantly higher densities of several wild ungulate species and lower densities of domestic ungulates in the WMA. I found giraffe survival and population growth rate both increased in response to the management changes. Results indicated the WMA is effectively providing habitat and protection for wild ungulates while generally excluding domestic livestock. Ungulate densities, and giraffe survival and population growth rate over time indicated the management changes enacted in 2014–2015 resulted in positive effects for wild ungulates. These combined results indicate the ecological effectiveness of Burunge WMA and provide evidence that CBNRM can have positive effects on wildlife populations, particularly when support to grassroots law enforcement is provided.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Nature and Landscape Conservation