1 Tahrcountry Musings: New Study – Funding by Global Environment Facility (GEF) for conservation brings benefit to local people but hurts biodiversity conservation.

Friday, July 04, 2008

New Study – Funding by Global Environment Facility (GEF) for conservation brings benefit to local people but hurts biodiversity conservation.

The latest issue of journal science has some important info for the park managers. An analysis of 306 protected areas in 45 countries in Africa and Latin America by George Wittemyer and colleagues came up with the finding that the rate of human population growth along the borders of reserves was nearly twice that of neighboring rural areas. If the protected areas are a detriment to local livelihoods, we should see little or negative population growth at their borders. Instead the study found that people consistently moved closer to them. This runs counter to the criticism that protected areas cause misery to the people and creates a class of conservation refugees. The authors report a correlation between population growth near protected areas and the amount of funding countries received from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for conservation-related projects. This study highlights that conservation activities can and do have positive impacts for the local communities where they take place. The study suggests that parks today are perceived by local people as areas of opportunity. But paradoxically the research also suggests that the success of conservation areas in attracting human settlers may be detrimental to the biodiversity the reserves aim to protect. The pressure on wildlife, agricultural land, and timber and other forest products goes up exponentially. The direct conclusion is that deforestation rates were higher near protected areas where human population growth was the highest. It is time for wildlife reserve mangers to take stock of the situation and come up with newer models of growth.

G. Wittemyer, J.S. Brashares, P. Elsen, W.T. Bean, A. Coleman and O. Burton (2008). Accelerated Human Population Growth at Protected Area Edges. 4 JULY 2008 VOL 321 journal Science.

2 comments:

Abraham Thomas said...

This is interesting. Quite contrary to the commonly held beliefs

A dogs life in Africa said...

It's a no brainer - we have been talking about this for decades in Kenya. It's high time the world listned to the local experts and protected area experts - Sudanese talked of wildlife migrations but it took Mike Fay to say it was happening for the world to wake up, rangers on wildlifedirect.org talked of the charcoal trade threats in Congo leading to the killing of gorillas but it took Nat Geo to wake the world up. Its high time Africans received some recognition.