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Data from: Community-based wildlife management area supports similar mammal species richness and densities compared to a national park

Citation

Kiffner, Christian et al. (2019), Data from: Community-based wildlife management area supports similar mammal species richness and densities compared to a national park, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.w0vt4b8mf

Abstract

Community-based conservation models have been widely implemented across Africa to improve wildlife conservation and livelihoods of rural communities. In Tanzania, communities can set aside land and formally register it as Wildlife Management Area (WMA), which allows them to generate revenue via consumptive or non-consumptive utilization of wildlife. The key, yet often untested, assumption of this model is that economic benefits accrued from wildlife motivate sustainable management of wildlife. To test the ecological effectiveness (here defined as persistence of wildlife populations) of Burunge Wildlife Management Area (BWMA), we employed a participatory monitoring approach involving WMA personnel. At intermittent intervals between 2011 and 2018, we estimated mammal species richness and population densities of ten mammal species (African elephant, giraffe, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, waterbuck, warthog, impala, Kirk’s dik-dik, and vervet monkey) along line transectss . We compared mammal species accumulation curves and density estimates with those of time-matched road transect surveys conducted in adjacent Tarangire National Park (TNP). Mammal species richness estimates were similar in both areas, yet observed species richness per transect was greater in TNP compared to BWMA. Species-specific density estimates of time-matched surveys were mostly not significantly different between BWMA and TNP, but elephants occasionally reached greater densities in TNP compared to BWMA. In BWMA, elephant, wildebeest, and impala populations showed significant increases from 2011 to 2018.  These results suggest that community-based conservation models can support mammal communities and densities that are similar to national park baselines. In light of the ecological success of this case study, we emphasize the need for continued efforts to ensure that the BWMA is effective. This will require adaptive management to counteract potential negative repercussions of  wildlife populations on peoples’ livelihoods. This study can be used as a model to evaluate the effectiveness of wildlife management areas across Tanzania. Community-based conservation models have been widely implemented across Africa to improve wildlife conservation and livelihoods of rural communities. In Tanzania, communities can set aside land and formally register it as Wildlife Management Area (WMA), which allows them to generate revenue via consumptive or non-consumptive utilization of wildlife. The key, yet often untested, assumption of this model is that economic benefits accrued from wildlife motivate sustainable management of wildlife. To test the ecological effectiveness (here defined as persistence of wildlife populations) of Burunge Wildlife Management Area (BWMA), we employed a participatory monitoring approach involving WMA personnel. At intermittent intervals between 2011 and 2018, we estimated mammal species richness and population densities of ten mammal species (African elephant, giraffe, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, waterbuck, warthog, impala, Kirk’s dik-dik, and vervet monkey) along line transectss . We compared mammal species accumulation curves and density estimates with those of time-matched road transect surveys conducted in adjacent Tarangire National Park (TNP). Mammal species richness estimates were similar in both areas, yet observed species richness per transect was greater in TNP compared to BWMA. Species-specific density estimates of time-matched surveys were mostly not significantly different between BWMA and TNP, but elephants occasionally reached greater densities in TNP compared to BWMA. In BWMA, elephant, wildebeest, and impala populations showed significant increases from 2011 to 2018.  These results suggest that community-based conservation models can support mammal communities and densities that are similar to national park baselines. In light of the ecological success of this case study, we emphasize the need for continued efforts to ensure that the BWMA is effective. This will require adaptive management to counteract potential negative repercussions of  wildlife populations on peoples’ livelihoods. This study can be used as a model to evaluate the effectiveness of wildlife management areas across Tanzania.