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Abstract

Key Policy Points - Game Management Areas (GMAs) in Zambia aim to combine nature conservation with economic empowerment of rural households and communities. - We find evidence of consumption gains from living in GMAs and from participating in natural resource management through Community-Resource Boards (CRBs) and Village Action Groups (VAGs). - However, these benefits are unevenly distributed. Only GMAs with limited alternative livelihoods (Bangweulu and South Luangwa) exhibit significant consumption benefits. Also, the benefits accrue mainly to the relatively well off while the poor do not gain even if they participate. - Resources from ZAWA to CRBs seldom reach the VAGs. Richer, more educated community members participate at CRB or higher level while poorer households participate at VAG level. There is need to address impediments to effective participation by the majority of the community members. - Infrastructure development, which is more evident in Kafue and Lower Zambezi park systems, does not necessarily translate into household level consumption gains in the short run. Moreover, the observed infrastructure development in these areas cannot be attributed to the GMA institution.

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