Effectiveness of Conservation and Development

Initiatives that seek to integrate conservation and development (ICDs) are often founded on the fact that, amidst abject poverty, the long-term prospects for biodiversity conservation are poor. This is a particularly salient issue for Africa given that extreme poverty exists in a predominantly rural population dependent on natural resource subsidies for maintaining health and livelihoods. Yet, concern about the efficacy of ICD initiatives in meeting either conservation or development objectives remains. Linking conservation with poverty reduction and improved livelihoods has not yet been successful on a large scale, in part because success where nature is concerned does not necessarily translate into success for people and vice versa. Calls for evidence-based approaches to evaluate the effectiveness of ICDs have arisen from a concern over the lack of empirical evidence showing the results of ICD interventions in terms of either conservation or poverty. In response to recent calls for this type of research emanating from the scholarly literature, we conduct research that systematically identifies and rigorously tests a set of key lessons likely to lead to ICD success.