Economics, Trade and Incentive Measures

ID 5438
Submitting Entity IUCN
Submitted for Sixth Ordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 6)
Main Information
Title The Nature of Benefits and the Benefits of Nature: Why Wildlife Conservation Has Not Economically Benefitted Communities in Africa
Description This IDPM study argues that community-oriented approaches to wildlife conservation usually have a strong economic rationale. They are typically based on the premise that if local people participate in wildlife management and economically benefit from this participation, then a “win-win” situation will arise whereby wildlife is conserved at the same time as community welfare improves. While most community conservation activities have the ultimate goal of maintaining wildlife populations, they simultaneously aim to improve the socio-economic status of human communities in wildlife areas. This paper describes how most attempts to conserve wildlife carried out in East and southern Africa over the last decade have been at least partially based on this economic rationale. In order to achieve the joint ends of conservation and human welfare improvement such projects and programmes have followed a common approach to generating economic benefits for the people who live in wildlife 
areas. In combination with other forms of local participation in wildlife management, benefits have tended to be provided by returning a proportion of the revenues earned by the state from wildlife back to them through indirect benefit-sharing arrangements and grass-roots development activities - mainly the provision of social infrastructure such as schools, water supplies and health facilities. The economic rationale behind such benefit-based approaches to community conservation - that communities must benefit from wildlife if they are to be willing and able to conserve it - is sound. It constitutes a major advance from traditional exclusionist approaches to wildlife conservation which were largely based on denying community access and gain from wildlife, and has undoubtedly resulted in the more equitable distribution of wildlife benefits. This paper will however argue that such benefit-based 
models are based on an incomplete understanding of the economics of community conservation and of the nature of wildlife beneifts. Over the long term they may lead neither to community welfare improvement nor contribute to wildlife conservation.
Web Link /doc/case-studies/inc/cs-inc-iucn-04-en.pdf
Additional Information
Authors Lucie Emerton
Source Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester
Ecosystems Agricultural Biodiversity
Dry and Sub-Humid Lands Biodiversity
Forest Biodiversity
Regions Africa
Incentive Measures Indirect Incentives (property rights, market creation)
Regulations / Access Restrictions
Keywords Community participation
Access restrictions
Compensation for loss of use
Revenue sharing with communities
Strengthening property rights (land tenure, ...)
Wildlife trade
Ecosystem approach