Effects of law enforcement and community outreach on mammal diversity in a biodiversity hotspot

Cheng Chen, Rui Chang Quan, Guanghong Cao, Hongpei Yang, A. Cole Burton, Michael Meitner, Jedediah F. Brodie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Management activities such as law enforcement and community outreach are thought to affect conservation outcomes in protected areas, but their importance relative to intrinsic environmental characteristics of the parks and extrinsic human pressures surrounding the parks have not been explored. Furthermore, it is not clear which is more related to conservation outcomes—the management itself or local people's perceptions of the management. We measured objective (reports by park staff) and subjective (reports by local people) levels of community outreach and law enforcement based on responses to 374 questionnaires. We estimated mammal abundance and diversity of 6 protected areas based on data from 115 camera traps in Xishuangbanna, southwest China, a biodiversity hotspot with high hunting and land-conversion pressures. We then examined correlations among them and found that local people's perception of law enforcement was positively related to the local abundance of 2 large, hunted species, wild boar (Sus scrofa) (β = 15.22) and muntjac (Muntiacus vaginalis) (β = 14.82), but not related to the abundance of smaller mammals or to objective levels of enforcement. The subjective frequency of outreach by park staff to local communities (β = 3.42) and park size (β = 3.28) were significantly and positively related to mammal species richness, whereas elevation, human population density, and subjective frequency of law enforcement were not. We could not conclude that community outreach and law enforcement were directly causing increased mammal abundance and diversity. Nevertheless, the patterns we detected are some of the first empirical evidence consistent with the idea that biodiversity in protected areas may be more positively and strongly related to local perceptions of the intensity of park management than to either intrinsic (e.g., elevation, park size) or extrinsic (e.g., human population density) environmental factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-622
Number of pages11
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Xishuangbanna
  • Xishuangbanna
  • camera trap
  • conservation effectiveness
  • cámaras trampa
  • eficacia de la conservación
  • protected area
  • riqueza de especies
  • species richness
  • área protegida


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