Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies Program

Committee Chair

Robin Saha

Commitee Members

Len Broberg, Steve Siebert


community-based conservation, community-based natural resource management, livelihood security, participatory management, wildlife conservation


University of Montana


Strategies for human livelihood security and wildlife conservation often conflict, especially in rural and impoverished areas where wildlife and their habitats are important sources of livelihood. Community-based conservation approaches to wildlife conservation seek to remedy this conflict. Still, problems persist and alternative forms of livelihood are often not generated or accounted for in community-based projects. Therefore, it is important to understand the extent to which and specific ways livelihood security are incorporated into community-based wildlife conservation projects. This thesis uses qualitative methods to examine the extent to which livelihood security is incorporated into community-based wildlife conservation projects. Specifically, I assess whether and how well various subcomponents of livelihood security, which I identify as income, non-monetized benefits and access rights, representative participatory management, and food security, are incorporated into projects from developing regions around the world. My content analysis and rating of the quality of evidence of 27 published case studies revealed that various subcomponents of livelihood security are often incorporated into community-based wildlife conservation projects, though the subcomponents are often only weakly or moderately incorporated and sometimes are not incorporated at all. Among the four subcomponents of livelihood security, representative participatory management is incorporated into the projects to the greatest extent and food security is incorporated the least. Although case studies might mention livelihood security, in one-quarter of such instances, no evidence was provided that a particular subcomponent was actually incorporated into the project. Still, livelihood security was found to be incorporated to a moderate or strong extent in slightly more than one-third of instances. Recommendations to better incorporate livelihood security into wildlife conservation projects are provided for project facilitators, including non-governmental organizations, funders, and government agencies.

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© Copyright 2012 Monica Antonia Perez-Watkins