Effectiveness of the Integrated Conservation and Development Program (ICDP) in conserving wildlife in the Annapurna Conservation Area in Nepal
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Nepal has established 22 protected areas (PAs) with the primary aim of conserving wildlife biodiversity. The protected area system of Nepal has gone through various stages of trial and learning. Various problems relating to management of protected areas have emerged during such trials and processes. In the course of this process, the Integrated Conservation and Development Program (ICDP) approach in protected area management has emerged as an important tool to link conservation and development, with the aim of resolving various problems associated with existing protected area management regimes in the country. We investigated the success of the ICDP approach from the perspective of wildlife conservation. The perceived success of the ICDP approach to conserving wildlife in protected area management systems was examined in the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA), Nepal. An extensive field study was carried out with selected Village Development Committees (VDCs) within the ACA. We employed a social survey method using tools such as, Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), structured and semi-structured interviews, and a questionnaire survey conducted in two VDCs. Participatory tools such as matrices were also used to gain further insights into impact of the ICDP approach. We found that a significant positive impact resulted from the ICDP approach in study sites when compared with the pre-ICDP scenario. This study suggests that the Snow Leopard (Uncia uncial), Blue Sheep (Psedois nayaur) and Musk Deer (Moschus moischiferous) populations have increased since implementing the ICDP approach. Participatory tools, such as, interactive matrices, involving local people were used to obtain insights and identify changes in wildlife populations. Based on these findings, we argue that the ICDP approach is significantly enhancing wildlife conservation efforts throughout the ACA and it can also be stated that the ICDP approach could be a better alternative to the conventional approach of the protected area management systems in Nepal.
International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation
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Conservation and Biodiversity