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Examining the effectiveness of prospective methods to prevent human-wildlife conflict: A systematic literature review
African elephant, loxodonta africana, is listed in the category of vulnerable animals with an estimated population being below 415,000 (WWF Website, 2019). The situation is even more severe in the case of Asian elephant, alphas maximus indices, which is listed as endangered species with an estimated population of 50,000 (WWF Website, 2019). In both cases, these species are threatened by a range of factors, including human-wildlife conflicts. Goswami et al. (2015) utilised a method to provide a more accurate estimate of elephant crop depredation data in India, increasing the severity of this human-wildlife conflict. In addition to the tangible losses incurred to local farmers, hidden health consequences and damages incurred by the wildlife represent additional negative consequences, which further increase the severity of human-wildlife conflicts (Jadhay and Barua, 2012; Redpath et al., 2015). The need for integration of conservation and development goals is much-needed and also well-recognised in the many current literature. One example is with Manral et al. (2016) viewing the implementation of effective long-term solutions to prevent human-wildlife conflict as a key element of achieving these goals. Furthermore, it is believed that the ongoing research and conservation efforts have provided valuable insights about the occupancy and behaviours of elephants (e.g. Goswami et al., 2015). Seoraj-Pillai and Pillay (2016), provided another example which includes providing the basis for initial methods to prevent human-wildlife conflict. Moreover, emerging technologies provide a number of prospective strategies for enhancing the effectiveness of preventive strategies even further (Nyhus, 2016). However, despite the rapid growth in the development and implementation of these preventive actions in order to mitigate human-wildlife conflict, a systematic evaluation of these efforts that could highlight the effectiveness of respective solutions and provide directions and improvements for further research and action is still somewhat missing. The proposed research seeks to address this specific gap by carrying out a systematic literature review of prospective methods to prevent human-wildlife conflict, and it will be focusing specifically on human-elephant conflicts.
The overall aim of the proposed research study is to carry out a systematic literature review on the methods for preventing human-wildlife conflict, placing a particular emphasis on human-elephant conflicts. This main research aim can be broken down into the following research objectives:
- To identify the key methods available for preventing human-elephant conflict
- To evaluate the effectiveness of existing strategies to prevent human-elephant conflict by examining the costs, outcomes and success factors of those individual methods
- To make an effective contribution to conservation efforts by highlighting the most effective strategies in order to mitigate human-elephant conflict and to outline areas which are in need of further actions / attention / improvements from researchers.
Data collection and analysis
The proposed research will be a systematic review of literature in order to identify and evaluate the available methods for preventing human-elephant conflicts and enhance its effectiveness. There are three particular aspects to support the validity of this research method. Firstly, a systematic literature review method allows researchers to address the current research problems. The topic of human-elephant conflict has attracted a considerable amount of attention from the research community. A preliminary review of implemented prevention strategies provided by Manral et al. (2016) revealed that individual methods vary substantially in terms of their costs and effectiveness. While some of the strategies could not be evaluated or even failed to achieve the desired outcomes, the most effective approach resulted in 80 times increase in crop savings and wildlife protection comparing to the investment made (Manral et al., 2016). As a result, although the many current research identifies the prospective strategies for mitigating human-elephant conflict, the current lack of a systematic review on these methods is significant and prevents the effectiveness of human-elephant conflict prevention strategies. Secondly, a systematic literature review method allows the researcher to identify the current gaps in the current research and thus advance both research and practical applications (Bernard and Bernard, 2012). Thirdly, the outcomes of a systematic literature review provide valuable insights for research and improvement in the future (Hart, 2018).
- Bernard, H. R. and Bernard, H. R. (2012), Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches, Sage
- Goswami, V. R., Medhi, K., Nichols, J. D. and Oli, M. K. (2015), “Mechanistic understanding of human-wildlife conflict through a novel application of dynamic occupancy models”, Conservation Biology, 29(4), 1100-1110
- Hart, C. (2018), Doing a literature review: Releasing the research imagination, Sage
- Jadhav, S. and Barua, M. (2012), “The elephant vanishes: Impact of human-elephant conflict on people’s wellbeing”, Health & Place, 18(6), 1356-1365
- Manral, U., Sengupta, S., Hussain, S. A., Rana, S. and Badola, R. (2016), “Human wildlife conflict in India: A review of economic implication of loss and preventive measures”, Indian Forester, 142(10), 928-940
- Nyhus, P. J. (2016), “Human-wildlife conflict and coexistence”, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 41, 143-171
- Redpath, S. M., Bhatia, S. and Young, J. (2015), “Tilting at wildlife: Reconsidering human-wildlife conflict”, Oryx, 49(2), 222-225
- Seoraj-Pillai, N. and Pillay, N. (2016), “A meta-analysis of human-wildlife conflict: South African and global perspectives”, Sustainability, 9(1), 34-38
- WWF Website (2019), “Species: Elephant”, available from: https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/elephant [accessed 22/01/2019]
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