By H. GAREKAE, O.T. THAKADU and J. LEPETU
Understanding conservation attitudes of local communities is essential to the long-term sustainable management of natural resources such as forests. This paper, guided by the Social exchange theory, examined attitudes of local communities towards management of Chobe Forest Reserve (CFR) and explored factors influencing conservation attitudes in the study area. A survey instrument was administered to 183 households, randomly sampled across three communities adjacent to CFR. Additionally, in-depth interviews with selected key informants were conducted. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used for analysing data. The study findings revealed that communities generally held positive attitudes towards forest conservation. Place of residence, age, length of residency and forest dependency were observed to be significantly influencing attitudes towards forest conservation. For sustainable forest management and conservation to be achieved, it is vital that community's needs and aspirations, their attitudes and perceptions regarding conservation are considered and factored into strategies and management planning.