Protecting forests and biodiversity: Are investments in eco-friendly production activities the best way to protect endangered ecosystems and enhance rural livelihoods?
Ferraro, Paul J.
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A debate has been raging in recent years among conservation practitioners and advocates. What are the most effective mechanisms for preserving the imperiled forest habitats that shelter most of the world's terrestrial biodiversity? In the past few decades most money has been going into "indirect" interventions such as "Integrated Conservation and Development Programs". While no one could object to efforts to achieve such worthy goals, several authors suggest that more "direct" approaches - payments in exchange for conservation performance - would better achieve conservation objectives. We argue here that direct incentives might better achieve both conservation and development objectives. While the problems facing both conservation practitioners and development specialists are indeed daunting, we feel that the arguments for direct approaches are compelling both as conceptual propositions and as practical policy advice.