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Analysis

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.

Interoceanica Sur Road in Peru

Tropical forests of southeastern Peru hold the highest biodiversity levels in the world. This unique region is threatened by the construction of a paved road linking Brazil to Peruvian ports on the Pacific Ocean. CSF carried out a study to identify priority areas for conservation investments to mitigate the so-called "Interoceánica Sur" road's impacts. To do this, we analyzed the road’s effects on land-use profits, information we combined with data on the distribution of wild plant and animal species. The economic and biological data was overlaid to find where the greatest conservation gains can be achieved at least cost. Finally, we considered socio-political factors that might favor or restrict conservation.

Photo of a deep sea giant turtle swimming in clear tropical sea water.

Ocean Economics - Abrolhos Reef, Brazil

Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) conducted economic valuation research of Marine areas in Belize, Panama and Brazil. This work was supported by Conservation International’s Marine Management Area Science program. Valuation of ecosystem goods and services was carried out within three formally protected marine areas: Gladden Spit (Belize), Coiba (Panama) and Abrolhos (Brazil).

Ocean Economics - Coiba National Park, Panama

Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) conducted economic valuation research of Marine areas in Belize, Panama, and Brazil. This work was supported by Conservation International’s Marine Management Area Science program and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Valuation of ecosystem goods and services was carried out within three formally protected marine areas: Gladden Spit (Belize), Coiba (Panama) and Abrolhos (Brazil). CSF's Coiba research was led by one of our training graduates, Ricardo Montenegro, of the Alliance for Conservation and Development, a Panamanian NGO.

Ocean Economics - Gladden Spit, Belize

Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) conducted economic valuation research of Marine areas in Belize, Panama and Brazil. This work was supported by Conservation International’s Marine Management Area Science program. Valuation of ecosystem goods and services was carried out within three formally protected marine areas: Gladden Spit (Belize), Coiba (Panama) and Abrolhos (Brazil).

Usumacinta Dam

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p>In a collaborative study by ProNatura Chiapas, Defensores de la Naturaleza, Conservation International and CSF, we analyzed a dam proposed on the Usumacinta River in Mexico. Our objective was to stimulate discussion on the costs and benefits of such projects in Mesoamerica's largest watershed. We chose to analyze the Tenosique project (formerly known as Boca del Cerro), given that it is apparently the dam being given the most serious consideration by planners. We analyzed the project with four criteria in mind: financial feasibility; economic efficiency; the distribution of costs and benefits; and environmental sustainability. A project is considered financially feasible if the firm implementing it receives income in excess of its costs.

Photo of invasive swordfern in forest

Economic Impacts of Invasive Species

In 2006 and 2007, CSF worked with The Nature Conservancy to develop an interview-based economic assessment process to assist developing countries in evaluating and addressing the impacts of invasive species.

CSF conducted economic assessments of invasive species of particular concern in Uganda, Ghana and Zambia in partnership with CABI Africa and The World Conservation Union (IUCN) as part of the UNEP/GEF project "Removing Barriers to Invasive Plant Management in Africa."

In the Ashanti region of Ghana, we found that the aggressive invasive tree Broussonetia papyrifera (Pulp mulberry) can reduce land rents by 50%, and decrease yields by 50% - 90% for important crops such as maize, cocoa and cassava.

Dams and Roads in the Madeira Basin

In this analysis, we assess the effect of Madeira River energy and transportation infrastructure projects on soybean expansion. Precarious transportation networks and natural barriers have kept the region of the Upper Madeira River geographically and economically isolated and have contributed to the low population densities, particularly in the Bolivian States of Beni and Pando. The development potential of this area, where Brazil, Peru and Bolivia meet, lies in the possibilities of accessing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by river or through the construction and pavement of roads.

Changuinola-Teribe Dams in Panama

We analyzed four hydroelectric projects planed in Panama’s Bocas del Toro Province. All four projects would be located in the Changuinola-Teribe watershed, within the limits of the Palo Seco Protected Forest (known by the Spanish acronym BPPS). Three of these projects would be built on the Changuinola River, with the fourth on the Bonyic River. Both rivers have their headwaters within the Amistad International Park (PILA). The dams’ combined installed capacity would be 446 megawatts, equivalent to 30 percent of Panama’s total capacity at the end of 2004. Our analysis suggests that the projects would most likely be both economically and financially feasible.

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: