Zan Dodson* - University of Maryland, College Park
Julie Silva - University of Maryland, College Park
In this study we compare spatial patterns of land use with local residents' evaluations of the benefits associated with tourism-based development in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GTLP) in Mozambique. This type of economic development aims to mitigate persistent poverty by redistributing tourism profits to local residents, as well as incentivizing land use change to foster landscapes that appeal to Western tourists. However, previous empirical findings suggest that this benefits-based approach is not an effective means of redistributing income or improving the well-being for local communities. Our qualitative findings, based on in-depth interviews with 164 residents living in and near the GTLP in 2012, indicate that people associate tourism with decreased food security. As a result, we hypothesize that residents living in or near the GTLP continue their subsistence-reliant livelihoods through small-scale agriculture. To test this hypothesis, we conduct a change detection analysis for the period between 1991 and 2010 to examine patterns of land use within and just outside the park. During this period this area was designated as a national park, and then was re-classified as part of the GTLP. We harmonize the results from this remote sensing analysis with qualitative findings to link resident perceptions of well-being with spatial patterns of deforestation in and around the park. We find strong evidence of significant deforestation within the park but not in surrounding areas. Our study findings suggest that residents' fear of being forcibly relocated to areas outside the park may encourage land clearing within the park boundaries.