It has been increasingly accepted that park management policies in some countries should allow for limited access to park resources by the local people to meet their subsistence and cultural needs. However, too much access to the natural resources of a park may simply cause people to rely on the park resource and manage their own lands less intensively than hitherto. The issue of illegal livestock-grazing and fodder-cutting in Royal Chitwan National Park (RCNP) by local people is examined. The study area was comprised of 16 village units having an estimated population of 148, 404 people in 21, 621 households. Despite the presence of a large number of armed guards, the data from interviews with farmers indicated that illegal livestock-grazing and fodder-cutting in RCNP were prevalent. In the spring season, grazing intensity on the Park was higher than in other seasons, whereas cutting of fodder was intense in both winter and spring seasons. The actual monitoring of 11 patches (totalling 365 ha) of grasslands or savanna for a calendar year inside the Park but near its boundary, indicated that illegal grazing averaged 4.1 head per ha (3.0 cattle, 0.9 buffalo, and 0.2 sheep/goats). In addition, the livestock biomass was found to be increasing by 2.36% per annum in Park-adjoining villages. There is some evidence that villagers adapt their livestock practices in response to the availability (illegal) of grazing in, and fodder-removal from, the Park. The pressures for illegal access to park resources will continue to grow and eventually will exceed the capacity of the resource to recover from harvest. The best approach to resolve this illegal livestock grazing issue is neither strict protection nor widely-expanded access. The Park should consistently work to induce a gradual behavioural change, on the part of the farmers, to stall-feed livestock from fodder originating from their own farms and/or from community plantation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Water Science and Technology
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis