Managing conflict in national parks: the case of encroachment in Kerinci Seblat, Indonesia
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Kerinci Seblat National Park (KSNP) is the largest national park in Indonesia. It surrounds Kerinci District, the biggest enclave inside any comparable national park in the world. For these reasons the people-park problems are potentially the most complex among all parks in Indonesia.The greatest threat to the integrity of KSNP comes from encroachment which is largely aimed at the cultivation of cinnamon trees. Traditional approaches to park management and enforcement activities to exclude local people from the park have been unable to solve this problem. This study attempts to fill gaps in our knowledge of people-park interactions in KSNP and aims to incorporate encroachment problems in the park’s management plan.The objectives of this study were: (1) to examine characteristics of encroachment systems, people’s attitude towards the Park and encroachment; (2) to measure the degree of people pressure on the park and analyse impacts of encroachment on soil properties; (3) to model historical land use dynamics in an attempt to predict future encroachment; and (4) to provide alternative management options for the Park using a multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) model, and define the trade-offs that will exist between economic, environmental and social variables associated with alternative optionsThe results demonstrate that shortage of land and people’s perception of cinnamon are significant factors influencing encroachment activities in KSNP. Land use dynamics in the District are strongly influenced by the twin processes of encroachment and forest degradation. The most critical zone for encroachment in the District is the area in the elevation between 500-1500 m with slope less than 40 percent. Due to human encroachment, the Park is now under serious population pressure. Therefore, four scenarios of land allocation for buffer and traditional use zones were produced to lessen the pressure. A model was developed for identifying the area most likely to be encroached in the future. These results were utilised in order to develop eleven alternative management options for resolving conflict between encroachment and sustainable park management.