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Assessing Local Indigenous Knowledge and Information Sources on Biodiversity, Conservation and Protected Area Management at Khuvsgol Lake National Park, Mongolia

McCarthy, Christopher, Shinjo, Hitoshi, Hoshino, Buho, Enkhjargal, Erdenebuyan
Land 2018 v.7 no.4
attitudes and opinions, biodiversity, communications technology, conservation areas, financial economics, governance, indigenous knowledge, information exchange, information sources, lakes, mobile telephones, national parks, tourism, Mongolia
Indigenous knowledge about biodiversity and conservation is valuable and can be used to sustainably manage protected areas; however, indigenous communities continue to be marginalized due to the belief that their values and behaviors do not align with the overarching mission of conservation. This paper explores the extent of local knowledge and awareness of biodiversity, conservation and protected area management of indigenous communities at Khuvsgol Lake National Park, Mongolia. We investigate current levels of biodiversity awareness and explore perceptions toward conservation values and park management governance. Most respondents had a high awareness of existing biodiversity and held positive attitudes toward nature conservation and protected areas; however, insufficient knowledge of park rules and low levels of trust between local residents and park authorities may undermine conservation objectives in the long run. We identify an unequal share of economic benefits from tourism and preferential treatment toward elite business owners as a source of conflict. Limited information channels and poor communication between local residents and park authorities are also a source for low-level participation in conservation activities. Leveraging the increasing use of information communication technology, such as mobile phones, can serve as a new mechanism for improved information sharing and transparent reporting between local communities, conservationists and protected area authorities.