Identifying sustainable coexistence potential by integrating willingness-to-coexist with habitat suitability assessments

Susanne Marieke Vogel*, Divya Vasudev, Joseph O. Ogutu, Purity Taek, Emilio Berti, Varun R. Goswami, Michael Kaelo, Robert Buitenwerf, Michael Munk, Wang Li, Jake Wall, Desalegn Chala, Irene Amoke, Alice Odingo, Jens Christian Svenning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Persistence of species in the Anthropocene depends on human willingness-to-coexist with them, but this is rarely incorporated into habitat suitability or conservation priority assessments. We propose a framework of sustainable coexistence potential that integrates human willingness-to-coexist with habitat suitability assessments. We demonstrate its applicability for elephants and rhinos in the socio-ecological system of Maasai Mara, Kenya, by integrating spatial distributions of peoples' willingness-to-coexist based on Bayesian hierarchical models using 556 household interviews, with socio-ecological habitat suitability mapping validated with long-term elephant observations from aerial surveys. Willingness-to-coexist was higher if people had little personal experience with a species, and strongly reduced by experiencing a species as a threat to humans. The sustainable coexistence potential framework highlights areas of low socio-ecological suitability, and areas that require more effort to increase positive stakeholder engagement to achieve long-term persistence of large herbivores in human-dominated landscapes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109935
JournalBiological Conservation
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Attitude
  • Community-based conservation
  • Human-wildlife conflict
  • Megafauna
  • Support
  • Tolerance


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