Factors Influencing the Attitudes of Local Community towards Protected Areas, Case Study on Ambatara Protected Area Forest Conservation, Northwest Ethiopia
Protected areas (PAs) are crucial for natural resources and biodiversity conservation. However, they also hurt local communities by limiting access to farmland, forest product resources, and imposing fees. In some cases, local communities may view PAs as a risk to their livelihood or appreciate benefits of having PAs at other times. Hence, improving the positive attitudes of the local community toward PAs is important for the success of PAs preservation. This paper examined factors influencing the attitudes of the local community towards protected areas, a Case Study on Ambatara Protected Area (APA) forest Conservation, Northwest Ethiopia. Data was collected through household surveys. Econometric model were used for further analysis. The result identified influential factors and revealed that higher levels of age, education, family size, farmland size, livestock size, benefits, and awareness were all significantly associated with a more positive attitude of the local community towards PAs but having severe problems with a negative attitude. These were the key factors influencing the attitudes of the local community and should be a consideration when designing conservation initiatives and policy decisions. In general, most respondents had a positive attitude(supportive) towards PA and believed the conservation of APA is essential for them. However, they had some concerns about the management and lack of access to appropriate resources; this needs to be addressed to ensure their long-term sustainability. This study concludes that understanding the attitudes of local communities toward protected areas is essential to provide a successful conservation strategy and tangible benefits to local communities and PAs. These will help to ensure and preserve PAs for generations to come.
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