Conservation conflict following a management shift in Pendjari National Park (Benin)

Iliana Janssens*, Luc Janssens de Bisthoven, Anne-Julie Rochette, Romain Glèlè Kakai, Jean-Didier Tewogbade Akpona, J.J.A. Hugé, Farid Dahdouh-Guebas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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A common strategy to counteract global biodiversity loss is sustainable management of protected areas. However, as protection of nature sometimes conflicts with human livelihoods and involves stakeholders with different interests, conservation conflict is globally on the rise. These conflicts can hamper sustainable development, social equity and effective biodiversity conservation. Understanding perceptions of different stakeholders and mapping discourses is key in this respect. In this study, we investigated conservation conflict in the Pendjari National Park in Benin, West Africa. The conservation conflict was fueled in part by a shift from state-led collaborative management to a public-private partnership. Pendjari is the largest remaining savannah ecosystem in West Africa and home to several threatened megafauna species. Using Q methodology, we identified two distinct discourses among stakeholders. The first discourse, supported mainly by formally educated people with non-agricultural jobs, focuses on the limitation of anthropogenic activities in favor of biodiversity conservation. The second discourse is mostly supported by people with a lower education level and a direct dependency on the land. They agree there is a need for conservation but even more so for viable alternatives to ensure people's livelihoods. The identification of these discourses and their underlying drivers can be included into future decision-making processes and management of the Pendjari National Park.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109598
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Conservation
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Collaborative governance
  • Participatory management
  • Public -private partnership
  • Q methodology
  • Stakeholder perception
  • West Africa
  • Public-private partnership


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