E.H. Bulte; R.B. Boone; R. Stringer; P.K. Thornton
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Abstract: Traditional grazing grounds near Amboseli National Park (Kenya) are rapidly converted to cropland – a process that closes important wildlife corridors. We explore the scope for introducing a “payments for ecosystem services” scheme to compensate pastoralists for spillover benefits associated with forms of land use that are compatible with wildlife conservation. Our results indicate that such a scheme likely enhances global welfare, but that (i) ‘leakage’ through excessive stocking rates warrant close scrutiny and (ii) that payments increase the risk of overstocking during droughts.
Excerpt from Introduction:
In this paper, we explore the opportunity to establish an international payment system for non-use values – or cultural values, in the parlance of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment – associated with wildlife (elephant) conservation near Kenya’s Amboseli National Park (NP). Under current trends the long-term future of the Amboseli ecosystem (and its icon – the elephant) looks rather bleak. The objectives of this paper is twofold. First, we explore whether efforts to promote elephant conservation near Amboseli NP through a PES scheme represent a viable economic proposition, or not. The outcome of such a comparison may be used to decide whether strategies should be implemented to provide incentives for local households to sustainably manage their rangelands and share this habitat with wildlife. A second, and closely related objectives, is to predict how a PES scheme affects conservation (the so-called additionality issue) and welfare of the Maasai. To address the second question one would ideally use a household model, but as a fully calibrated Maasai model is not available, we resort to an approximation instead.
The study results are being used to develop a PES project, coordinated by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. The outcomes of the proposed project are threefold: (i) ecosystem-wide management and the development of organizational structures for effective participation and coordination in natural resource management decision-making; (ii) significant increases in wildlife corridors, dispersal areas and habitats through established biodiversity services payments at appropriate sites throughout the ecosystem; and (iii) improved poverty alleviation and household food security outcomes.
An earlier and shorter version of this paper appeared as “Elephants or onions: Paying for nature in Amboseli, Kenya.”