Assessing the local drivers of persistent encroachment on Mt. Elgon National Park: a case study of Bududa district
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Many protected areas are threatened by encroachment in different forms such as land for settlement, agriculture, grazing, tree cutting and other forest resources by surrounding communities. However, this has led to degradation of ecosystem in many protected areas including Mt Elgon. The main objective was to establish the drivers and extent of encroachment activities on Mt. Elgon National park in Bududa district. The specific objectives were to: 1. To establish the spatial and temporal extent of encroachment around Mt Elgon National Park in Bududa district. 2. to establish local drivers of persistent encroachment on Mount Elgon National park. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were applied in the study. Purposive sampling techniques were applied to select the study area. The main data collection methods used were key informant interviews, household structured and unstructured interviews. The results of the study revealed that despite the conservation initiative around Mt Elgon there is still encroachment going on. The major drivers of encroachment identified include, population growth, need for increased crop production, political interference, and infertile land adjacent to the park. The forms of encroachment observed were agricultural land use, settlement, livestock grazing, collecting forest products, and tree cutting.