Ecotourism is often perceived as a strategy for sustainable biodiversity conservation for protected areas. In Cameroon, there is dearth of information on the impacts of ecotourism on biodiversity conservation of protected areas. The main thrust of this study is to examine local population's perceptions of the impact of ecotourism on biodiversity conservation in and around the Campo Ma'an National Park (CMNP). Data were collected from both primary and secondary sources. Primary data were gotten from household survey (N=124), focus group discussions (N=8) and key informant interviews (N=16). From the findings, 44.4% of the local population perceived ecotourism activities contributing to biodiversity conservation of CMNP against 55.6% with contrary views. Spearman rank correlation coefficients and Chi-square test statistics indicated that, variables plausibly influencing local population's perception of ecotourism impact on biodiversity conservation in and around CMNP were age (p<0.10), gender (p<0.50), main occupation (p<0.10), secondary occupation (p<0.10), time spent in the community (p<0.50), and number of children (p<0.50). From the logistic regression model, the main variables affecting the local population's perception were age, gender and time spent in the community. This study recommends the development of ecotourism friendly policies that can accelerate Public Private Partnership for a participatory and sustainable ecotourism approach for biodiversity conservation and livelihood enhancement in and around the CMNP. It also recommends the development of a gender sensitive ecotourism that will fair opportunities for rural women to benefit from ecotourism activities.
Key words: Ecotourism, biodiversity conservation, perception, adjacent population, national parks, Campo Ma'an National Park, South Cameroon.
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