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Public Policy and Administration


Dorcas M. Francisco


People living near forests in Liberia are facing pressure to protect the forests for conservation while they are struggling for alternative incomes for livelihoods. The purpose of this quantitative correlational study was to assess whether conservation agreements improve rural livelihoods and promote forest conservation by examining the relationship between direct payment of conservation benefits to forest communities and forest protection, and the relationship between direct payment of conservation benefits to forest communities and livelihood improvement in rural Liberia. A total of 150 participants aged 18 and above were surveyed from three regions in Liberia using a precoded questionnaire. The frequency distribution and Chi-square test of association were used to determine the descriptive and inferential statistics derived from the results of the study. Results showed insufficient evidence to link direct benefits of conservation and forest protection in the form of harvesting of materials and conservation efforts. There was no significant difference between persons who received compensation and those who did not. Results also showed insufficient evidence of a relationship between direct payments and income. Findings showed stronger evidence of linkages between direct payment and household amenities and ownership of household assets. Findings may be used to promote equity by allowing all major segments of the community to be engaged in the implementation and enforcement of the conservation agreement with the community leading to positive social change. Support for local communities in the enforcement of forest protection remains the priority of all stakeholders including organizations working to promote conservation and protection of forest resources.

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