Using Participatory Risk Mapping (PRM) to identify and understand people's perceptions of crop loss to animals in uganda

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Considering how people perceive risks to their livelihoods from local wildlife is central to (i) understanding the impact of crop damage by animals on local people and (ii) recognising how this influences their interactions with, and attitudes towards, wildlife. Participatory risk mapping (PRM) is a simple, analytical tool that can be used to identify and classify risk within communities. Here we use it to explore local people's perceptions of crop damage by wildlife and the animal species involved. Interviews (n = 93, n = 76) and seven focus groups were conducted in four villages around Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda during 2004 and 2005. Farms (N = 129) were simultaneously monitored for crop loss. Farmers identified damage by wildlife as the most significant risk to their crops; risk maps highlighted its anomalous status compared to other anticipated challenges to agricultural production. PRM was further used to explore farmers' perceptions of animal species causing crop damage and the results of this analysis compared with measured crop losses. Baboons (Papio anubis) were considered the most problematic species locally but measurements of loss indicate this perceived severity was disproportionately high. In contrast goats (Capra hircus) were considered only a moderate risk, yet risk of damage by this species was significant. Surprisingly, for wild pigs (Potamochoerus sp), perceptions of severity were not as high as damage incurred might have predicted, although perceived incidence was greater than recorded frequency of damage events. PRM can assist researchers and practitioners to identify and explore perceptions of the risk of crop damage by wildlife. As this study highlights, simply quantifying crop loss does not determine issues that are important to local people nor the complex relationships between perceived risk factors. Furthermore, as PRM is easily transferable it may contribute to the identification and development of standardised approaches of mitigation across sites of negative human-wildlife interaction.




Webber, A. D., & Hill, C. M. (2014). Using Participatory Risk Mapping (PRM) to identify and understand people’s perceptions of crop loss to animals in uganda. PLoS ONE, 9(7).

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