Can biodiversity be conserved through human development?
International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya 1
Conservation and human development goals appear to be essentially in conflict. Traditional conservation efforts have emphasized the need to minimize human disturbance of ecosystems while human development traditionally requires increased extraction of resources from systems. Recently, some evidence from Africa shows that intensification of human use of systems does not always result in biodiversity loss, that traditional land-use practices sometimes increase the abundance of favorable habitats for a range of species, and that improvements in human welfare can give farmers and pastoralists incentives to conserve important habitats and species. In contrast are observations that increased incomes during development result in increased demand for natural resources per capita. Rapid loss of species can occur when human populations are high and natural resource use is unregulated. The objective of this paper is to explore when, how and why some types of human development are compatible with biodiversity conservation and others are not. Examples are drawn from recent research across Africa and other parts of the world. General principles of compatibility hinge on involvement of local communities in local resource management, strengthening of local institutions, strong linkage of human development and conservation goals, and frequent biodiversity monitoring so that losses can be quickly perceived and remedied.
Keywords: biodiversity conservation, human development, Africa
This abstract is being presented at: 3:45 PM in session:
Symposium # 4: Human Development and Biodiversity Conservation in the Developing World: Finding a Balance in Concept and Practice.