How does poaching affect the size of national parks?

Trends Ecol Evol. 2008 Apr;23(4):177-80. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2007.08.019. Epub 2008 Mar 3.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Crime* / prevention & control
  • Forestry*
  • Humans
  • Law Enforcement*