Proximity to Protected Areas and Changing Household Characteristics among the Maasai of Northern Tanzania

Timothy D. Baird, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Paul W. Leslie, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Parks and protected areas are important catalysts of social change in rural areas throughout the developing world. Still, the ways that local communities adapt to parks and the implications these adaptations hold for household demographics are not well understood. Using qualitative group-interviews and a cross-sectional survey of household heads (n=216) collected in 2010, this study compares patterns of household formation, size, and organization in six agro-pastoral, polygamous, ethnically Maasai communities in northern Tanzania. Four villages in the study are located adjacent to or near the border of Tarangire National Park while two villages are distant from the park. Preliminary findings indicate that compared to the past, women are marrying earlier, men are taking more wives, and birth spacing has decreased. These trends are stronger close to the park where communities have actively pursued adaptive, development strategies.

Presented in Poster Session 1