Glew, L. and Hudson, M.D.
Guerrillas in the midst: the impact of political instability, civil strife & armed conflict on the conservation of protected areas in sub-Saharan Africa
Oryx, 41, (2), . (doi:10.1017/S0030605307001755).
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Previous reviews have warned of the problems inherent to relying upon the frequently anecdotal nature of evidence emerging from war zones while recognising that quantitative data alone cannot prevent reliance upon anecdote. To illustrate the dangers of applying strict quantitative conditions on data emerging from war zones, a deterministic model of conflict-linked deforestation in the region was constructed and the implications of the model discussed. A semi-quantitative approach, which the authors regard as the optimal approach to evaluating the impact of warfare on conservation, was used with reported impacts assessed for reliability and severity using a number of empirical criteria. Data emerging from Sub-Saharan Africa focusing on the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda were subsequently analysed using this framework.
From this analysis, illegal resource exploitation was identified as the primary impact stemming from conflict and in some instances, a driver of the hostilities. From the joint consideration of the in- and post-conflict phases, such exploitation is concluded to be the product of lawlessness and anarchy generated by violent uprisings rather than violence per se. As such armed conflict does not pose a novel threat to protected areas but rather amplifies threats extant during peace, creating a need for appropriate responses by those involved in conservation management. With both the occurrence and violence of conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa increasing, the impact of warfare is pertinent to the immediate and long-term management of biological resources in the region.
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