Communitieties’ Perceptions and Knowledge of Ecosystem Services: Evidence from Rural Communities in Nigeria

56 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2015

See all articles by Wei Zhang

Wei Zhang

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Edward Kato

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Prapti Bhandary

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Ephraim Nkonya

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Hassan Ibrahim

Federal University, Dutsin - Ma, Katsina State, Nigeria

Mure U. Agbonlahor

Abeokuta Federal University of Agriculture (UNAAB); AUC-SAFGRAD

Ibrahim Hussain

Federal University Dutsin‐Ma

Date Written: February 13, 2015

Abstract

This research has been undertaken to improve our understanding of stakeholders’ knowledge and perception about ecosystem services (ES), which provides a valuable means of gaining insight into the opportunities and constraints that face ES management in a multiuser landscape. Land use preferences are influenced by a variety of motives, attitudes, and values intrinsic to every individual’s decisionmaking. Knowledge can affect attitudes and behavioral intentions, and a positive attitude toward the environment has been found to predict conservation practices. Using primary data collected from a village survey of 102 villages in Nigeria between November 2012 and February 2013, this study assesses local communities’ awareness, perceptions, and knowledge of a broad range of ES and examines the key factors that explain the variations in the level of awareness across communities, with a special focus on land uses within landscapes. We found that exposure to forest and lowland floodplains was positively correlated with people’s level of awareness of ES, highlighting the importance of direct experience and local context in shaping people’s perceptions toward ES. Such considerations should be taken into account when designing policies aimed at addressing natural resources and environmental management issues. While provisioning services were generally well recognized, consistent with findings of previous studies, a majority of the sampled villages also appreciated spiritual values as a cultural service. Communities’ awareness and knowledge about regulating and supporting ES were generally very low, including those services that are important for maintaining the stability and productivity of agroecosystems (for example, pollination and biological pest control), warranting a greater role for agricultural extension to play in influencing community levels of awareness of ES in Nigeria. Furthermore, incorporating new concepts and topics about ES into the primary school curriculum will better educate people about the importance of ES. Finally, our assessment of communities’ attitudes toward payments for environmental services suggests a need to respect local communities’ preferences, norms, and traditions when designing policies that encourage natural resources management.

Keywords: ecosystem services, awareness, knowledge, perception, rural community, forest, Nigeria

Suggested Citation

Zhang, Wei and Kato, Edward and Bhandary, Prapti and Nkonya, Ephraim and Ibrahim, Hassan and Agbonlahor, Mure U. and Hussain, Ibrahim, Communitieties’ Perceptions and Knowledge of Ecosystem Services: Evidence from Rural Communities in Nigeria (February 13, 2015). IFPRI Discussion Paper 01418. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2567753

Wei Zhang (Contact Author)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Edward Kato

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Prapti Bhandary

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Ephraim Nkonya

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Hassan Ibrahim

Federal University, Dutsin - Ma, Katsina State, Nigeria ( email )

P.O. Box 5001
PMB 5001
Katsina, KS Katsina State 5001
Nigeria

Mure U. Agbonlahor

Abeokuta Federal University of Agriculture (UNAAB) ( email )

P.M.B 2240 Ogun State
Abeokuta, Ogun State 1110001
Nigeria
+234 8060659233 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.unaab.edu.ng/

AUC-SAFGRAD ( email )

P.O. Box 3243 Roosvelt Street
(Old Airport Area)
Addis Ababa, W21K19
Ethiopia
+22674792723 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://http//www.au-safgrad.org

Ibrahim Hussain

Federal University Dutsin‐Ma ( email )

P.O. Box 5001
PMB 5001
Katsina, KS Katsina State 5001
Nigeria

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