This study was conducted to evaluate perceptions of communities surrounding the Swagaswaga Game Reserve regarding the impact of the proposed Hoima-Tanga crude oil pipeline on biodiversity loss. The pipeline will transect the game reserve and some of the neighbouring villages. The study involved 156 randomly selected respondents from four purposefully selected villages located at 0 to 10 km and 11 to 20 km from the game reserve. The respondents comprised 55 females and 101 males, aged between 20 and 70 years. Semi-structured questionnaire was used. Only 57% of the respondents were aware of the proposed project, and the majority of these respondents reside in villages located closer to the game reserve. Their major concern was loss of biodiversity, which was more frequently expressed by those living close to the game reserve (58.3%) than by those living further away (5%). Respondents also expressed concerns about the lack of clarity regarding land compensation. The latter was expressed significantly more frequently by respondents residing close to the game reserve. This study demonstrates the lack of community awareness about the project. The study concluded that, comprehensive community engagement in project planning coupled with technical capacity building will be a key to guaranteeing community involvement in conservation activities.
Key words: Biodiversity loss, communities’ perceptions, oil pipeline, Swagaswaga Game Reserve.
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