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Home » Library » Linking Biodiversity Conservation and Poverty Alleviation: A State of Knowledge Review

Linking Biodiversity Conservation and Poverty Alleviation: A State of Knowledge Review

Biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction are two global challenges that are inextricably linked, but because biodiversity is generally a public good, it is under-valued, or not valued at all, in national economies. This paper focuses on the question “which groups of the (differentiated) poor depend, in which types of ways, on different elements of biological diversity?” It focuses on biodiversity as a means of subsistence and income to the poor and biodiversity as insurance to prevent the poor from falling even deeper into poverty.
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  • Biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction are two global challenges that are inextricably linked. But biodiversity is generally a public good, so it is under-valued, or not valued at all, in national economies. This paper focuses on the question “which groups of the (differentiated) poor depend, in which types of ways, on different elements of biological diversity?” It focuses on biodiversity as a means of subsistence and income to the poor and biodiversity as insurance to prevent the poor from falling even deeper into poverty.
  • Ten conservation mechanisms that can reduce poverty in the rural poor are identified: non-timber forest products, community timber enterprises, payments for environmental services, nature-based tourism, fish spillover, mangrove restoration, protected area jobs, agroforestry, grasslands management, and agrobiodiversity conservation.
  • There are caveats to these links. The poor depend disproportionately on biodiversity for their subsistence needs and biodiversity conservation can be a route out of poverty under some circumstances. However, it is often the relatively low value or inferior goods that are most significant to the poor, and the more affluent’s pursuit of the higher commercial value often crowds out the poor. The scale of poverty reduction may be small; conservation interventions do not necessarily lend themselves to poverty interventions. A focus on the cash benefits of biodiversity conservation is too limited; it excludes the ability to meet basic human needs. And biomass may matter more in the short term, biodiversity (as the foundation for biomass) more in the long term.

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Last modified by Gayle Diehl

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