Conservation Strategy Fund helps local conservationists use economic tools to find smart, efficient solutions to the most urgent environmental problems. Since its creation in 1998, CSF has conducted dozens of analysis projects in forests, rivers and coastal environments. Most of our work has focused in the tropics, where extraordinarily high levels of biological diversity are found. To maximize the reach and quality of our work, we involve leading experts and conservation organizations in all of our projects.

Economic Benefits of Madidi National Park

There is much debate over whether natural protected areas restrict economic development or enable it. In this study we assessed the local economic benefits provided by Madidi National Park & Natural Area of Integrated Management, one of Bolivia’s largest protected areas, and also one of the most important globally for biodiversity conservation. We applied this analysis approach previously for Amazonian protected areas near Manaus, Brazil.

Roads in the Selva Maya

An assortment of road projects has been proposed in the border region of Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, which is part of the Maya Forest, the largest contiguous tropical forest in the Americas north of the Amazon. The proposals are apparently aimed at spurring economic growth and reducing the high levels of poverty found in this area. But more and better roads usually bring more people and expand farms. Decision-makers are therefore confronted with a seeming conflict between conservation and development goals. Would new roads be bad or good for the Maya Forest region?

Payment for Environmental Services in the Atlantic Rainforest

Financial sustainability of protected areas is always a challenge in developing countries. In this project, CSF developed a methodology to implement a Payment for Environmental Services (PES) system focused on water conservation for human consumption in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. This payment system approach is supported by the 47th and 48th articles of the Brazilian National System of Conservation Units Law (which goes by the Portuguese acronym SNUC), which aim to generate income for protected areas management. The project study area was the Guapiaçu and Macacu rivers basin in Três Picos State Park, close to Rio de Janeiro city. This basin provides water for about 1.7 million people.

Our analysis was developed in five phases:

British Columbia Salmon Aquaculture

Open net-pen salmon aquaculture is now an established part of the economy in several regions of coastal British Columbia. Despite the prevalence of salmon aquaculture in these regions, the industry continues to come under scrutiny. Environmentalists and conservation biologists worry about the impacts of net-pen salmon aquaculture. Community leaders and development advocates are concerned about the economic sustainability of salmon aquaculture and its impacts on rural economies, especially those economies that traditionally have depended on the harvest of wild salmon.

Economic Benefits of Manaus Parks

What is the local economic impact of protected areas creation and management? Protected areas are commonly considered barriers to economic development because they impose limits or even completely block the use of natural resources. However, this study demonstrated that 10 protected areas located up to 200 km from Manaus city in the Brazilian Amazon provide an source of important income for the local economy. In some situations, these incomes can even surpass earnings generated by land uses such as cattle ranching. The study also found that in the case of the Manaus, the economic activity generated by protected areas - mostly in the form of local spending and employment for research and protection activities - was paid for by money originating outside the region and even outside Brazil.

Paraguay-Paraná Waterway

This study presents an analysis of the implications of proposed upgrades to the Paraguay-Paraná waterway on the Mato Grosso State soybean transportation. The waterway passes through the vast and biologically rich Pantanal wetlands, shared by Bolivia and Brazil. Social cost-benefit analyses were carried out for 4 distinct scenarios. The results cast doubt on the feasibility of waterway improvements, mostly due to environmental externalities and to limitations on cargo transfer to the waterway route.

Tanzania National Parks

In 2002-2003 CSF conducted economic study of Tanzania's national parks, providing a basis for changes in the parks' entry fees. This East African country has some of the most impressive wildlife and landscapes in the world, with famous parks such as Serengeti, Kilimanjaro and Gombe Stream. CSF worked with course graduate Ezekiel Dembe of Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and other TANAPA staff to develop a strategy aimed at improving the economic performance of the parks without compromising nature protection. TANAPA's ultimate goal was to increase the profitability of the parks system, which will justify the creation of additional protected areas.

Volcán Baru National Park and the Quetzal Trail

In 2003, three road investments were proposed in the vicinity of the Barú Volcano National Park in the province of Chiriquí: (1) a one-lane road from Cerro Punta to Boquete, via the Park; (2) the so-called “southern route” outside the park, from Cuesta de Piedra to Boquete via Palmira; and (3) paving the access roads as far as the guard stations at the Park’s Eastern and Western entrances (see figure 2). Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) conducted an economic analysis of the proposals between February and April, 2003. We employed the “Roads Economic Decision Model,” developed by the World Bank in 1999. The research was jointly funded by the Nature Conservancy and Conservation International (CI), and was one of several factors that led to cancellation of the proposed road through the park. The lower-impact "Southern Route" was selected instead.

Monkey Conservation in Bioko

Researchers from the National University of Equatorial Guinea (UNGE) and Arcadia University have alerted the international conservation community to the threat of imminent extinction of the seven primate sub-species on the island of Bioko, Equatorial Guinea. These seven species include the drill, red colobus, black colobus, Preuss' guenon, crowned guenon, russeteared guenon and putty-nosed guenon. Similarly, researchers have pointed out the possibility of shortterm disappearance of the island's other large-bodied game animal, Ogilby's duiker.

Amazon Forest Fires

CSF worked with Brazil 2000 course participant, Ricardo de Assis Mello, a researcher with IPAM (Amazon Environmental Research Institute), to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of alternative agricultural methods aimed at preventing destructive forest fires.

Farmers in the Eastern Amazon see few alternatives to the traditional slash and burn agricultural. As a direct consequence, in the states of Pará and Mato Grosso, the area of forest burned by accidental fires is greater than the amount of land intentionally burned for agriculture. Ricardo worked with IPAM as part of a World Bank Pilot Program for Tropical Forest Protection that aims to develop no-burn agricultural clearing methods.