Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Resource Conservation

Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Stephen F. McCool

Commitee Members

Kimber Haddix-McKay, Wayne Freimund


Africa, conservation capacity, HIV/AIDS, protected areas


University of Montana


The HIV/AIDS pandemic permeates all aspects of southern African civil society including the ability of organizations to practice conservation. The purpose of this research is to understand how management perceives HIV/AIDS influencing southern African conservation agencies workforce capacity to meet their missions. Research goals include: (1) identifying perceptions of the impacts of HIV/AIDS on workforce capacity; (2) elucidating barriers to addressing these impacts; and (3) exploring mitigation strategies. Data collection involved two stages: (1) semi-structured interviews of managers and scientists (n=23) to better understand impacts and barriers; and (2) a panel of key experts (n=30) within southern African conservation agencies ranked impacts according to their perceived severity, using an iterative, Delphi approach. Impacts identified include loss of experience-based knowledge, difficulty in planning for the future, and increases in human resource costs. Barriers to addressing these impacts include gender issues, lack of awareness, staff housing and stigma associated with the disease. Mitigation strategies must address impacts and barriers within a southern Africa context. This research provides perspectives from current conservation management and human resources to direct and catalyze mitigation strategies.



© Copyright 2007 Jennifer Ann Cash