Implication of Upgrading Conservation Areas on Community ' s Livelihoods: Lessons from Saadani National Park in Tanzania


  • Elias Michael University of Dar es salaam
  • Godwin M Naimani


This paper addresses the implication of upgrading conservation areas in Tanzania on the livelihoods of communities abutting them. It draws on lessons from the Saadani National Park (SANAPA) in Tanzania. The area was upgraded in 2003 from a Game Reserve (GR) to a National Park (NP) status. Unlike Game Reserves where licensed human consumptive uses are permitted, National Parks allows only controlled non consumptive uses such as walking safaris, game driving and photographic tourism. The paper uses the findings of the study which was conducted in 2008 in four villages that are adjacent to Saadani NP to assess the implication of changing conservation area status. Mixture of research methods were employed in the study. These included key informant interview, Focus Group Discussions using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools, site visits, observation and interview of heads of households in the villages surrounding SANAPA. The issues gauged in detail were the before and after NP status situation and changes in people ' s welfare. The findings show that general community benefits such as social services have improved after the upgrading. However, individual benefits including income have decreased. The conclusion drawn is that survival of the park depends much on good relations with the people adjacent to it.