This study was designed to assess Pare people’s perception about the role of protected areas in biodiversity conservation. Viewpoints on factors causing biodiversity loss, related consequences and people’s participation in forest husbandry activities were also investigated. Data were collected from Same and Mwanga Districts using semi structured interview. Results indicated generally that majority of people in the two districts regardless of sex have positive perception on the role of protected areas (p<0.01). However, consequences of biodiversity loss are more serious in Same than in Mwanga District. This contradicts the general perception. Factors that cause biodiversity loss were scored less serious in Same District and only less that 50% of people participate in forestry husbandry activities. The need to understand people’s perception prior to establishment of protected areas is emphasized. Where the general perception is positive, ascertain existence of supportive evidence as it may be misguiding as observed in Same District.
Key words: Conservation of forest biodiversity, perception of Pare people, role of PAs, consequences of biodiversity loss.
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