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Modelling Fugitive Natural Resources in the Context of Transfrontier Parks: Under what conditions will conservation be successful in Africa?

22 September 2012
Publication Type: Working Paper

The conservation of fugitive natural resources across national boundaries poses significant challenges in Africa. This realisation has resulted in the creation of transfrontier parks. While transfrontier parks help de-fragment wildlife habitats, in the presence of governance heterogeneity the same arrangements create uncertainty as they allow a diverse range of park managers to make decisions about wildlife. This paper formulates a bioeconomic model to examine the determinants of successful conservation of migratory wildlife across a transfrontier park with patch heterogeneity. The examination shows three key results. Firstly, it is both ecologically and economically worthwhile to establish a unified transfrontier park rather than have disjointed national ones only if stronger governance institutions exist in higher-resource potential areas. Secondly, the local communities will cooperate with transfrontier conservation effort only if they derive greater benefit flows from transfrontier park-based wildlife conservation than from anti-conservation activities such as wildlife poaching. Thirdly, successful conservation requires transfrontier arrangements that equalise the long-run costs and benefits for all constituent partners. Given the presence of patch and governance heterogeneity, successful elephant conservation in Southern Africa requires that South Africa shares benefits with Mozambique and Zimbabwe despite their weaker institutions to prevent resource leakages from threatening the transfrontier park.

Series title: Working Paper 170
1 March 2010
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