Research-implementation gap limits the actionability of human-carnivore conflict studies in East Africa

S. M. Gray, C. R. Booher, K. C. Elliott, D. B. Kramer, J. C. Waller, J. J. Millspaugh, B. M. Kissui, R. A. Montgomery

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Conflict with humans is one of the primary reasons why large carnivore populations are declining worldwide. Rates of human-carnivore conflict (HCC) are particularly high in East Africa, where human settlements tend to surround protected areas, maximizing potential for human-carnivore interactions. Despite extensive HCC research in this region, HCC persists and carnivore populations continue to decline. Evident disconnects between HCC research and conservation action, management practices and policy formation have been cited as mechanisms associated with these trends. We conducted a literature review to determine the extent to which HCC research in East Africa is actionable within the context of management and policy formation. We evaluated 36 papers for co-production, interdisciplinary collaboration, applied or theoretical publication and stakeholder engagement. Many were published by co-authors in academia (63.8%) and collaborative efforts between academics and non-governmental organizations (25.0%), with limited representation outside these sectors. Collaboration with disciplines outside the natural sciences, specifically the social and political sciences (both 2.8%), was also uncommon although humans were the primary topic of study in 28% of papers. Moreover, while many papers were published in applied journals (86%), few explicitly stated policy and management objectives. Stakeholder engagement was mostly in the form of surveys and questionnaires rather than direct involvement in the research process. Our review indicates that HCC research currently lacks strong evidence of actionability and we provide recommendations for improving the practical salience of conservation research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-17
Number of pages11
JournalAnimal Conservation
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Keywords

  • East Africa
  • conservation action
  • depredation
  • human-carnivore conflict
  • large carnivores
  • literature review
  • policy
  • stakeholder engagement

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