An Economic Analysis of Climate Change and Wildlife Utilization on Private Land: Evidence from Wildlife Ranching in South Africa

Wildlife ranching is emerging as a new frontier for wildlife conservation and alternative land use to agriculture in Southern Africa marginal areas. But wildlife sector also faces climate related challenges. In this study, we investigated the effects of climate change on the revenues of wildlife ranchers in South Africa. This paper applied a median Ricardian modelling on net farm revenues using a sample of 506 wildlife ranches drawn from the latest version (2007) of Census of Commercial Agriculture data for South Africa. In order to predict the impact of climate change in future, the paper used three Atmospheric-Oceanic Global Circulation, which includes CSIRO2, Parallel Circulation Model, and Hadley Centre Coupled model, which have been used for South African agriculture modelling. The study confirms that current climate affects the net revenues of wildlife ranches across South Africa especially in cases where small scale wildlife ranches are involved. For example towards 2050, climate change could reduce net revenues from wildlife by up to 28 percent. In certain regions the models predict modest gains on revenues towards 2100. Revenues of specialized wildlife ranches would be more affected in the long run when compared to ranches that practice mixed wildlife and livestock ranching.

Working paper 553
1 October 2015

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