Money for something? Investigating the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation interventions in the Northern Plains of Cambodia

Thomas Clements, Apollo-University Of Cambridge Repository, Apollo-University Of Cambridge Repository
Despite substantial investments in biodiversity conservation interventions over the past two decades there is relatively little evidence about whether interventions work, and how they work. Whether an intervention is deemed to "work" depends upon how goals are defined and then measured, which is complex given that different stakeholders have very different expectations for any intervention (including species conservation, habitat protection, human wellbeing or participation goals), and because
more » ... he process of measuring impacts can involve a simplification of more sophisticated ideals. These questions were investigated for a suite of biodiversity conservation interventions, implemented during 2005-2012 in the Northern Plains landscape of Cambodia. The interventions included the establishment of Protected Areas (PAs), village-level land-use planning, and three different types of Payments for Environmental Services (PES) instituted within the PAs. The PES programmes were (1) direct payments for species protection; (2) community-managed ecotourism linked to wildlife and habitat protection; and (3) payments to keep within land-use plans. The impact evaluation compared the results of each of the interventions with appropriate matched controls, considering both environmental and social impacts between 2005-2011. Both PAs and PES delivered additional environmental outcomes: reducing deforestation rates significantly in comparison with controls and protecting species for those cases where appropriate data was available. PAs increased security of access to land and forest resources for local households, benefiting forest resource users, but restricting households' ability to expand and diversify their agriculture. PES impacts on household wellbeing were related to the magnitude of the payments provided: the two higher-paying PES programmes had significant positive impacts for participants, whereas a lower-paying programme that targeted biodiversity protection had no detectable effect on livelihoods, despite its positive env [...]
doi:10.17863/cam.16406 fatcat:ddj3wthwqjfcloewpfafbjigni