Ecosystem services are the base for survival of mankind and play a significant role in economic development, prosperity, health, etc. Forest ecosystems afford a variety of services that human beings depend on from them. Arba Minch Forest ecosystem is a crucial asset that maintains the continuity and survival of the Arba Minch town and its environs. Despite its tangible and worthy ecosystem services, it has been exposed to conservation constraints due to anthropogenic activities. However, limited studies have been conducted on its conservation constraints and strategies. Hence, this study focuses on identifying conservation constraints and finding out conservation strategies. Accordingly, the study was carried out using four sample categories (Arba Minch town residents households (n=151), key informants (n=21), accommodations delivers (n=9) and people entering into the forest (n=21)) in addition to field studies. Hence, altogether an n = 199 people were involved in this study. Collected raw data were chosen, refined, categorized, edited, evaluated, coded and entered into SPSS software. Descriptive statistics were computed for relevant variables and information obtained from the key informants was described in meaningful content. Findings of this study show that in spite of its undeniable ecosystem services, conservation constraints are ongoing including deforestation, lack of awareness, dependence of households and accommodation/services delivered by the forest such as energy sources, lack of alternative livelihood generation, and so on. Hence, to overcome the stated constraints; a variety of practices should be put into effect based on the identified conservation strategies, like enhancing public awareness, stakeholders’ participation, providing alternative livelihood generation, ensuring alternative energy sources, etc. These are core activities to save the forest and sustain its ecosystem services.
Keywords: Arba Minch Forest, conservation constraints, conservation strategies