Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study confirms food security helps wildlife

23.08.2011
A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) documents the success of a Wildlife Conservation Society program that uses an innovative business model to improve rural livelihoods while restoring local wildlife populations.

Known as COMACO (Community Markets for Conservation), the program began in Zambia in 2003 and has resulted in wildlife populations stabilizing and rebounding in areas once ravaged by poaching. In addition, local people – including some of the world's poorest farmers – are now benefitting from higher crop yields and improved livelihoods.

The study appears in the August 23rd edition of PNAS. Authors include Dale Lewis, Mwangala Mukamba of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Makondo Kabila; Samuel Bell, Kim Bothi, Lydia Gatere, Carmen Moraru, Johannes Lehman, James, Lassoie, David Wolfe, David Lee, Louise Buck, and Alexander Travis of Cornell University; John Fay of the University of Cape Town; and Edwin Matokwaani and Matthews Mushimbalume of the Zambian Wildlife Authority.

The COMACO program teaches rural villagers – including former poachers – sustainable agriculture methods that improve crop yields while reducing deforestation. COMACO then helps them earn more by adding value to crops, such as selling peanut butter instead of peanuts. Importantly, the program provides access to national and international commodity and retail markets. COMACO links membership in the cooperative business with wildlife conservation by having new participants turn in their guns and snares and by monitoring of the sustainable practices.

"COMACO represents a pragmatic solution to several related problems that plague rural Africa: poverty, deforestation, and loss of wildlife," said the study's lead author and COMACO founder Dale Lewis of the Wildlife Conservation Society. "This study documents COMACO's initial successes and outlines some of the challenges that lie ahead to ensure the program's long-term success."

Since 2003, the program has trained more than 40,000 farmers. More than 61,000 wire snares and 1,467 guns have been voluntarily turned in by participants. The program has expanded from two locations in the Luangwa Valley to a growing network of sites surrounding national parks, providing a buffer of reduced poaching and snare use.

As part of the study, aerial surveys show that wildlife including zebra, wildebeest, eland and other species have stabilized or are increasing following steady declines in the 1980s and 1990s from rampant poaching.

"COMACO shows how conservation can and should work," said John Robinson, WCS Executive Vice President for Conservation and Science. "Conservation cannot function without the buy-in of local people, and this is a shining example of how that goal can be achieved with impressive results for both people and wildlife."

In addition to environmental benefits, the study showed that COMACO farmers, particularly women, had higher crop yields than their non-COMACO peers. In response, many non-COMACO farmers are now adopting sustainable farming methods, learning from their COMACO-trained neighbors. Consequently, soil quality has improved with higher soil carbon on sustainable farms than on conventional farms.

As a business, COMACO is diversifying its products and markets. An important example is production of high-energy protein supplements sold to Catholic Relief Services and the World Food Programme for feeding orphans, HIV patients and refugees.

These efforts have allowed COMACO to move consistently toward an economic break-even point.

"They are trying to do something that very few wildlife and social interventions have ever dreamed of, which is to become self-sufficient," said co-author Alexander Travis of Cornell University's Baker Institute for Animal Health.

Funding for COMACO has been provided by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Mulago Foundation, Jasmine Foundation, Lundin for Africa, CARE International, General Mills, William Lloyd, and Harvey and Heidi Bookman. Research funding was provided by USAID and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

Stephen Sautner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wcs.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>