Assessing the impact of international conservation aid on deforestation in sub-Saharan Africa

Matthew Bare, Craig Kauffman, Daniel C. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

International conservation donors have spent at least $3.4 billion to protect biodiversity and stem tropical deforestation in Africa since the early 1990s. Despite more than two decades of experience, however, there is little research on the effect of this aid at a region-wide scale. Numerous case studies exist, but show mixed results. Existing research is usually based on community perception or focused on short-term donor objectives rather than specific conservation outcomes, like deforestation rates. Thus, the impact of billions of dollars of conservation aid on deforestation rates remains an open question. This article uses an original dataset to analyze the effect of international conservation aid on deforestation rates in 42 African countries between 2000 and 2013. We first describe patterns of conservation aid across the continent and then assess its impact (with one to five-year lags), controlling for other factors that may also affect deforestation, including rural population, protected areas (PAs), governance, and other economic and commodity production variables. We find that conservation aid is associated with higher rates of forest loss after one- or two-year lags. A similar result holds for PA extent, suggesting possible displacement of deforestation from PAs. However, governance quality in high forest cover countries moderates these effects such that deforestation rates are reduced. Rural population is the most consistent factor associated with forest loss, confirming previous studies of this driver. Our results suggest that in heavily forested countries, development projects designed to support conservation work initially in conditions of good governance, but that conservation aid alone is insufficient to mitigate larger deforestation drivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number125010
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume10
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 18 2015

Fingerprint

Deforestation
Africa South of the Sahara
Conservation of Natural Resources
deforestation
aid
Conservation
protected area
rural population
Rural Population
Africa
Biodiversity
forest cover
Research
development project
commodity
Economics
rate
stem
biodiversity

Keywords

  • Africa
  • conservation finance
  • deforestation
  • integrated conservation and development
  • international aid
  • protected areas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Assessing the impact of international conservation aid on deforestation in sub-Saharan Africa. / Bare, Matthew; Kauffman, Craig; Miller, Daniel C.

In: Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 10, No. 12, 125010, 18.12.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{3c14dd628e654f41aea83da8477c8659,
title = "Assessing the impact of international conservation aid on deforestation in sub-Saharan Africa",
abstract = "International conservation donors have spent at least $3.4 billion to protect biodiversity and stem tropical deforestation in Africa since the early 1990s. Despite more than two decades of experience, however, there is little research on the effect of this aid at a region-wide scale. Numerous case studies exist, but show mixed results. Existing research is usually based on community perception or focused on short-term donor objectives rather than specific conservation outcomes, like deforestation rates. Thus, the impact of billions of dollars of conservation aid on deforestation rates remains an open question. This article uses an original dataset to analyze the effect of international conservation aid on deforestation rates in 42 African countries between 2000 and 2013. We first describe patterns of conservation aid across the continent and then assess its impact (with one to five-year lags), controlling for other factors that may also affect deforestation, including rural population, protected areas (PAs), governance, and other economic and commodity production variables. We find that conservation aid is associated with higher rates of forest loss after one- or two-year lags. A similar result holds for PA extent, suggesting possible displacement of deforestation from PAs. However, governance quality in high forest cover countries moderates these effects such that deforestation rates are reduced. Rural population is the most consistent factor associated with forest loss, confirming previous studies of this driver. Our results suggest that in heavily forested countries, development projects designed to support conservation work initially in conditions of good governance, but that conservation aid alone is insufficient to mitigate larger deforestation drivers.",
keywords = "Africa, conservation finance, deforestation, integrated conservation and development, international aid, protected areas",
author = "Matthew Bare and Craig Kauffman and Miller, {Daniel C.}",
year = "2015",
month = "12",
day = "18",
doi = "10.1088/1748-9326/10/12/125010",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "10",
journal = "Environmental Research Letters",
issn = "1748-9326",
publisher = "IOP Publishing Ltd.",
number = "12",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Assessing the impact of international conservation aid on deforestation in sub-Saharan Africa

AU - Bare, Matthew

AU - Kauffman, Craig

AU - Miller, Daniel C.

PY - 2015/12/18

Y1 - 2015/12/18

N2 - International conservation donors have spent at least $3.4 billion to protect biodiversity and stem tropical deforestation in Africa since the early 1990s. Despite more than two decades of experience, however, there is little research on the effect of this aid at a region-wide scale. Numerous case studies exist, but show mixed results. Existing research is usually based on community perception or focused on short-term donor objectives rather than specific conservation outcomes, like deforestation rates. Thus, the impact of billions of dollars of conservation aid on deforestation rates remains an open question. This article uses an original dataset to analyze the effect of international conservation aid on deforestation rates in 42 African countries between 2000 and 2013. We first describe patterns of conservation aid across the continent and then assess its impact (with one to five-year lags), controlling for other factors that may also affect deforestation, including rural population, protected areas (PAs), governance, and other economic and commodity production variables. We find that conservation aid is associated with higher rates of forest loss after one- or two-year lags. A similar result holds for PA extent, suggesting possible displacement of deforestation from PAs. However, governance quality in high forest cover countries moderates these effects such that deforestation rates are reduced. Rural population is the most consistent factor associated with forest loss, confirming previous studies of this driver. Our results suggest that in heavily forested countries, development projects designed to support conservation work initially in conditions of good governance, but that conservation aid alone is insufficient to mitigate larger deforestation drivers.

AB - International conservation donors have spent at least $3.4 billion to protect biodiversity and stem tropical deforestation in Africa since the early 1990s. Despite more than two decades of experience, however, there is little research on the effect of this aid at a region-wide scale. Numerous case studies exist, but show mixed results. Existing research is usually based on community perception or focused on short-term donor objectives rather than specific conservation outcomes, like deforestation rates. Thus, the impact of billions of dollars of conservation aid on deforestation rates remains an open question. This article uses an original dataset to analyze the effect of international conservation aid on deforestation rates in 42 African countries between 2000 and 2013. We first describe patterns of conservation aid across the continent and then assess its impact (with one to five-year lags), controlling for other factors that may also affect deforestation, including rural population, protected areas (PAs), governance, and other economic and commodity production variables. We find that conservation aid is associated with higher rates of forest loss after one- or two-year lags. A similar result holds for PA extent, suggesting possible displacement of deforestation from PAs. However, governance quality in high forest cover countries moderates these effects such that deforestation rates are reduced. Rural population is the most consistent factor associated with forest loss, confirming previous studies of this driver. Our results suggest that in heavily forested countries, development projects designed to support conservation work initially in conditions of good governance, but that conservation aid alone is insufficient to mitigate larger deforestation drivers.

KW - Africa

KW - conservation finance

KW - deforestation

KW - integrated conservation and development

KW - international aid

KW - protected areas

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84952787591&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84952787591&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1088/1748-9326/10/12/125010

DO - 10.1088/1748-9326/10/12/125010

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84952787591

VL - 10

JO - Environmental Research Letters

JF - Environmental Research Letters

SN - 1748-9326

IS - 12

M1 - 125010

ER -