The present case study of the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area Project (KCAP), located in the north-eastern corner of Nepal, empirically investigates successes in and obstacles to addressing biodiversity conservation priorities at the same time as local inhabitants’ livelihood needs. The research results indicate an improvement in forest conditions and a perceptible growth of the wildlife population – judging from the increase in crop and livestock
depredations – as well as an enhancement of local people’s livelihoods and the creation of a positive attitude towards conservation among most of them. The challenges that emerged with the project’s success are primarily related to increasing crop and livestock depredations by wildlife, growing expectations among the local people for further livelihood enhancementoriented activities, and a need to enhance the institutional capability of the recently established Kangchenjunga Conservation Area Management Council (KCA-MC) to manage and sustain conservation efforts. Another insight is that factors such as the country’s current political instability and present economic trends affect conservation and livelihood issues more than any
project intervention. Nevertheless, it is imperative to address local livelihood needs while also receiving long-term external support for the conservation of endangered species. This requires a good balancing act, backed up by periodic monitoring, evaluation and research feedback to enhance the learning process.