Department of Geography, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Abstract: Community Entrepreneurialism and Conservation: Ecotourism in Northern Tanzania
This research will examine the role of community entrepreneurialism in environmental conservation in developing countries. Conservation with development has become a priority for development and conservation organizations alike. Many conservation programs attempt to reconcile development and environmental goals through the implementation of market-based incentives intended to attract communities as stakeholders in the protection and sustainable utilization of natural resources. A consistent pitfall of these programs is the lack of community empowerment in the decision-making process. The role of community entrepreneurialism provides an exciting but little-explored strategy within the research on community-based conservation.
The Maasai community of Emboreet, near the Tarangire National Park in northern Tanzania, has long partnered with Dorobo Safaris to provide ecotourism experiences. The elders of Emboreet actively participate through the negotiation of revenue sharing agreements, with revenue paid into Emboreet community coffers.
The central questions of this study are: If communities become actively engaged within market-based environmental conservation enterprises, will empowerment in decision-making increase, and local behaviors amenable to conservation and development goals ensue? Primary research will be carried out in two communities in Tanzania, with Emboreet representing the entrepreneurial approach, in order to conduct a comparative study on the effects of community entrepreneurialism on conservation behaviors.