What works in tropical forest conservation, and what does not: Effectiveness of four strategies in terms of environmental, social, and economic outcomes

Zuzana Burivalova, Thomas F. Allnutt, Dan Rademacher, Annika Schlemm, David S. Wilcove, Rhett A. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Tropical forests and their biodiversity are disappearing, despite decades of conservation efforts. Are we now in a position to understand whether some conservation strategies work better while others consistently fail in protecting tropical forests? We searched the literature to evaluate four mainstream strategies (forest certification and reduced impact logging, payments for ecosystem services, protected areas, community forest management) in terms of 35 environmental, social, and economic metrics. We evaluated whether applying the strategy improved, left unchanged, or worsened the conservation metrics and we created an interactive platform to view the data. We concluded that (a) the scientific literature on the effectiveness of conservation strategies in tropical forests is still vastly inadequate, due to poor design, lack of scope, and too few examples; (b) the effects of conservation on biodiversity and the economic outcomes of conservation are particularly understudied; and (c) all strategies fail at least some of the times, but all of them succeed at least some times. Our recommendation is that each new instance of implementing a given strategy should consider in detail, at the very least, the negative evidence on the given strategy, in order to avoid repeating the same mistakes. We introduce an interactive, dynamic platform to host various types of conservation effectiveness evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere28
JournalConservation Science and Practice
Volume1
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Keywords

  • biodiversity
  • community forest management
  • conservation evidence
  • deforestation
  • forest certification
  • payments for ecosystem services
  • protected areas

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