Factors and ecological impacts of wildlife habitat destruction in the Serengeti ecosystem in Northern Tanzania


Despite the considerable worldwide efforts to establish the wildlife protected areas - a strategy construed as the most feasible in maintaining the high quality habitats for healthy wildlife populations - destruction of wildlife habitats has remained the leading threat to biodiversity. This destruction, taking different forms (i.e. degradation, fragmentation or outright loss) is a function of the growing human activities - prompted mainly by such factors as poverty, demographic factors, land tenure systems, inadequate conservation status, development policies and economic incentives. This paper reviews these contributing factors and presents the associated ecological impacts – manifested by a decline of wildlife populations and local extinction of species. Provision of adequate conservation status to critical wildlife habitats, addressing the problem of human population growth, adoption of poverty reduction strategies that are conservation- friendly and discouraging the destructive development policies are recommended as the measures to mitigate the problem. Other measures entail genuine involvement of the local communities in conservation, provision of adequate economic incentives, relevant research and participatory land use planning. In conclusion, the paper argues that, given the nature of the problem, if a lasting solution is to be realized, habitat loss should be viewed as a multisectoral rather than a single sectoral issue. Therefore different stakeholders should play an active role in halting and pre-empting the problem. We propose criteria for selection of the relevant stakeholders


Journal Article


Tanzania, Serengeti ecosystem, Wildlife, Protected areas, Habitat destruction