We randomly selected 200 households from the four villages (50 per village) based on the household distance from the park: villages settled close to the park and villages settled further away from the park. Besides, qualitative methods including focus group discussions and direct observations, were used. Community activities differed between the two groups of villages (close and far from the park). Furthermore, local communities benefited directly and indirectly from employment, ecotourism, and support through social services. Education level was a significant factor influencing the perception of the benefits gained from the park. Crop raiding was the biggest problem reported by most people in the study area (31.5%, n = 200), followed by livestock losses. This study revealed that the establishment and expansion of a protected area can have positive and negative socio-economic, cultural, and political impacts on the livelihoods of local people. Households close to the park had little access to land; thus, few of them practiced agricultural activities and had crop production incomes. The needs of local people and poverty alleviation should be considered as important factors during the planning and designation of protected areas (PAs) in order to meet conservation and livelihood goals. The objective of the present study was to assess the perceptions of impact of PAs on the livelihoods of local people in terms of costs and benefits in the area adjacent to Saadani National Park in Tanzania with those not adjacent to Saadani NP.
Key words: Attitudes benefit sharing, livelihood, local communities, protected areas.
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