With over $3.4 billion spent in international conservation funding to protect biodiversity and stop tropical deforestation in Africa since the early 1990s, it makes sense to ask if the funding is effective. A recent study finds that conservation aid alone has not been able to counteract deforestation pressures, and in some cases may have even exacerbated forest loss.
University of Illinois's Daniel Miller, who studies international environmental politics, and two other researchers examined data from 2000 to 2013 on the rates of deforestation across 42 sub-Saharan countries.
This is an aerial view showing the border area of W National Park in Benin, Africa. Deforestation outside of the park is visible, with relatively better conditions within the park. Forest clearing is beginning to encroach on the park.
Credit: Daniel Miller
"We find evidence that some conservation aid actually leads to a short-term increase in deforestation," Miller says. "Our hypothesis is that it's displacement. The conservation aid may have gone toward a national park in, say, Benin, leading to less deforestation inside the park. That's the good news, but the bad news is that the funding may have just displaced forest clearing activities outside park boundaries. Our study looks at the country-size scale, so results may be capturing this displacement effect."
Miller and his co-authors looked at a sub-set of African countries with high forest cover--countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia--to see if dynamics were different. They found that quality of governance--rule of law, government effectiveness, whether citizens have a voice in selecting their leaders--affected the results.
"In heavily forested countries, we found that better governance on its own did not predict less deforestation," Miller says, "but in such countries, better governance apparently allowed conservation aid to have a positive impact in reducing deforestation. It may be that good governance in countries where forests are an important natural resource helps ensure conservation and sustainable management not only in protected areas but outside them as well."
Miller says there is already a lot of research looking at factors such as economic growth and rural population growth as deforestation drivers. A key innovation in this study is to include factors that can mitigate deforestation drivers, like conservation aid and existence of national parks and other projected areas, in the same statistical models.
"Unfortunately, the amount of aid is so little and the pressures to cut down the forest for furniture markets, firewood and building materials for homes, or other uses are so great that the conservation and money and protected areas are not enough to counteract the overall loss of forest in many countries."
The study "Assessing the impact of international conservation aid on deforestation in sub-Saharan Africa" appears in Environmental Research Letters. It was written by Matthew Bare, Craig Kauffman, and Daniel C. Miller. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation provided funding to support the research.
Debra Levey Larson | EurekAlert!
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy