Large Differences in Livelihood Responses and Outcomes to Increased Conservation Enforcement in a Protected Area

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Despite the popularity of integrated conservation and development approaches to protected area management, adjacent communities increasingly face livelihood dilemmas. Yet understanding of how market processes and conservation enforcement interact to influence livelihood responses remains limited. Targeting eight villages in Nam Et-Phou Louey (NEPL) National Park in northern Lao PDR, we draw on survey data with 255 households, 93 semi-structured interviews, and meso-level data on village conditions to examine how residents navigate associated livelihood dilemmas. A cluster analysis reveals five livelihood types with divergent capacities to engage in market development and cope with enforcement pressures. We show how market linkages, historical conservation interventions, and local access conditions shape livelihoods and differences between villages. Our approach yields a nuanced picture of how global conservation efforts result in an uneven distribution of costs and benefits at local scales. Conservation measures must account for highly divergent capacities to cope with access loss and diversify livelihoods.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Ecology
Pages (from-to)597–616
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note


Funding Information:
This study was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions grant agreement No. 765408. SF was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions grant agreement no. 766417. TV’s time was funded by the Managing telecoupled landscapes for the sustainable provision of ecosystem services and poverty alleviation project, under the Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (R4D) Programme, funded by the Swiss National Sciences Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), grant number 400440 152167.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

    Research areas

  • Integrated Conservation and development, Lao PDR, Livelihoods, Mixed Methods, Protected Areas

ID: 283739027