Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

’You can’t buy conservation,’ suggests survey of Africa’s rain forest parks

30.03.2005


Economic assistance to areas surrounding Africa’s rain forest parks does not, as currently applied, contribute to their health, suggests an extensive survey of park scientists and managers. Rather, the survey found the most successful parks are those with public support and strong law enforcement. The survey’s authors also said that their findings indicate that careful ecological and compliance monitoring and stable long-term funding are key to park success.



The survey involved sending questionnaires to scientists and park managers, and gathering satellite imagery and other data on the parks. It will be published in the May 2005 issue of the journal Biological Conservation and was posted online in December 2004.

Authors of the paper were Thomas Struhsaker, Paul Struhsaker and Kirstin Siex. Thomas Struhsaker is a research scientist in Duke University’s Department of Biological Anthropology and Anatomy; his brother Paul is a marine biologist, biostatistician, and private consultant based in Quebec; Siex is at the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York. The study was supported by the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science of Conservation International.


The researchers included data on 16 African parks and wildlife preserves obtained from 36 scientists and managers, who collectively had 567 years of experience in conservation and park management.

"We undertook the survey because, although there had been many financial audits of such parks, no one had ever audited how successful their strategies are," said Struhsaker. "Our approach was not the ideal way to conduct this study, but it was the only realistic approach given limitations in time and money. To do this study properly would take a least a decade and millions of dollars.

"However, this study does reveal what very knowledgeable people with extensive field experience think about the factors that contribute to park success," he said. "We hope these initial findings will generate more studies and highlight the complex issues facing these parks."

According to Thomas Struhsaker, many of the findings were expected. "It was not surprising that the parks that tended to be most successful were the large parks that were relatively inaccessible, and had low human population densities around them," he said.

However, Struhsaker said, the researchers were surprised by the importance of non-economic factors in park success.

"We found that a positive public attitude toward the parks -- having good community relations -- was one of the strongest indicators of park success," he said. However, said Struhsaker, their data did not suggest a single strategy for engendering such public support. For example, the researchers did not find a relationship between public education and park success, although he emphasized that this finding by no means indicates that public education is not important or effective.

"The lack of correlation between public education and park success could arise because of the wide variation in public education efforts and even the lack of a consistent definition of public education," he said. Furthermore, this lack of correlation may also reflect the very long time-lag between the initiation of conservation education and actual changes in behavior and attitudes, Struhsaker said. The effects of conservation education might also be overwhelmed by one or more of the many variables affecting park success, such as massive immigration and social instability, he said.

The researchers did find that investing in the local economy was not correlated with park success. "You can’t buy conservation," said Struhsaker. "Our evidence was contrary to beliefs expressed by such organizations as the World Bank -- that investment in economic development around parks aids in their success.

"For example, subsidizing agriculture around the parks generates income, but it also attracts more people, exacerbating the problems in the park," said Struhsaker. "The cost of such subsidy always goes up, because it’s in the interest of those living near the park to bid up the price of their support, thereby threatening the integrity of the park." Nor is ecotourism the answer for park preservation, said Struhsaker, since unregulated ecotourism can stress park ecology as much as can economic development.

"Rather than throwing money into development, our data indicate that greater park success arises from treating local people as good neighbors and partners in park conservation and making it clear that it’s the park managers’ job to protect the park," he said.

Such protection entails law enforcement strategies that must adapt to the specific threats to each park," said Struhsaker. Thus, they may range from meetings with local communities for information exchange and dialog to military-style operations against well-armed poachers who are also murderers.

"While we found that law enforcement was one important short-term solution, it isn’t the ultimate answer to the complex problems of preserving the parks," said Struhsaker. "There must be a combination of efforts on different time-scales -- including limiting the population around the park, public education and eliciting public support for the parks. And there is definitely no one-size-fits-all solution for all parks."

The survey findings indicate that over the long-term, investment in ecological monitoring programs and in permanent trust funds are critical to park success, said Struhsaker. And importantly, he said, provision of such funds must be contingent on independent performance monitoring and accountability, to avoid wasting money and encouraging corruption.

"Monitoring programs should include not only the plants and animals, but also the impact of humans on the park and the attitudes of people toward the park. It is only through such monitoring programs that one can objectively evaluate the success of the park and the various management strategies being employed said Struhsaker.

Dennis Meredith | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.duke.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making Waves

Computer scientists use wave packet theory to develop realistic, detailed water wave simulations in real time. Their results will be presented at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference.

Think about the last time you were at a lake, river, or the ocean. Remember the ripples of the water, the waves crashing against the rocks, the wake following...

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nanostructures taste the rainbow

29.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technique unveils 'matrix' inside tissues and tumors

29.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways

29.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>