How does poaching affect the size of national parks?

Andrew P. Dobson, Laura Lynes

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

30 Scopus citations


A variety of human activities have detrimental impacts on populations of species the park is designed to protect. These impacts range from direct hunting for trophy or subsistence needs, through vehicular collisions, to the direct loss of habitat due to forestry and agricultural activity. These impacts reduce the effective size of the parks and require changes in management policy that deal both with the direct cause of the problem and the underlying social conflicts that the presence of parks can place on humans in the surrounding communities. Recent studies from the Serengeti illustrate that increases in anti-poaching patrols increase the risk of poacher detection and lead to dramatic declines in levels of poaching. The economic arguments that support investment in anti-poaching patrols, rather than increased sentences for poachers who are caught, can be generalized to examine the costs and benefits of other changes in natural resource management that arise when attempting to manage the impact of anthropogenic activities in and around national parks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-180
Number of pages4
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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