Authors: Kossi Fandjinou, Kebin Zhang, Fousseni Folega, Beckline Mukete, Xiaohui Yang, Kperkouma Wala, Koffi Akpagana, Eve Bohnett
This study aims to identify the drivers of environmental degradation due to the dependency of surrounding residents on three protected areas in Togo, Africa (Oti-Keran, Togodo, and Abdoulaye national parks (abbr. OTA national parks)). Surveys of villagers conducted in and around the OTA national parks added to data downloaded from Indexmundi data portal. National-level trend analysis results indicated: 1) the number of terrestrial protected areas showed an upward trend, while savannah and forest cover showed alarming decrease trends. 2) At the local level, supplying socio-economic needs in the three selected protected areas directly resulted in biodiversity degradation through animal grazing, hunting and farming. 3) Over 70% of the respondent’s livelihoods consisted of farming and related dependencies on the protected areas for timber and non-timber forest products and income despite the protected status hold by these classified areas. 4) The OTA national parks have been experiencing an increase of anthropogenic pressure such as uncontrolled tree logging and hunting, which seriously impacts animal and vegetation biodiversity. 5) Policymakers should invest more resources in implementing an integrated management system based not only on a holistic vision of the PA that includes participatory management but also accounts for multi-dimensional principles to enable anthropogenic activities in and around the protected areas to satisfy sustainable development requirements.
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