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The hidden dimensions of human–wildlife conflict: Health impacts, opportunity and transaction costs

Barua, M.
Bhagwata, S. A.
Jadhavc, S.
January 2013

The impact of conservation policies on human wellbeing is critical to the integration of poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation. In many low-income countries, human–wildlife conflict adversely affects wellbeing of communities that closely interface with wildlife. Approaches to framing and mitigating conflict emphasize its visible costs. Hidden impacts, i.e. costs that are uncompensated, temporally delayed, or psychosocial in nature, remain poorly addressed. This paper examines the hidden impacts of human–wildlife conflict in low-income countries. It presents an account of the known and potential hidden impacts, investigating their effects on rural communities. Hidden impacts of human–wildlife conflict include diminished psychosocial wellbeing, disruption of livelihoods and food insecurity. Considerable opportunity costs are incurred through crop and livestock guarding. When seeking compensation for damage, bureaucratic inadequacies result in added transaction costs. Even though communities may be tolerant of wildlife, the hidden impacts of conflict jeopardize various components of global wellbeing. The paper concludes by identifying gaps in knowledge and outlining areas for future research that better address hidden dimensions of human–wildlife conflict.


Publication type: 
Journal Article
Source name: 
Biological Conservation
Page numbers: 
Poverty-Environment Linkages