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.

Economics of a Road Through Madidi National Park

Rural roads are frequently associated with economic development, but they are often implemented without consideration for their economic feasibility also called "efficiency." The terms feasibility and efficiency describe investments whose benefits are, at a minimum, greater than their costs. When such criteria are ignored, road projects are funded by governments with no clear expectations of increasing the overall wealth of the country. In fact, they often bring considerable economic losses when accrued benefits do not offset large costs involved with road improvement or construction.

Roads and protected areas in northern Bolivia Amazon

Road projects in the Amazon Basin are seen by some people as required elements for economic development, but they can come with a host of social and environmental disadvantages. These include the destruction of forests and other natural habitats, the loss of biodiversity, the spread of human diseases, displacement of indigenous and non-indigenous communities and the concentration of landholdings. Studies that consider and integrate the varied effects of road projects can point to those investments that best achieve, and, to the extent possible, reconcile economic, environmental and social goals.

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.

Infrastructure Integration and Biodiversity Conservation

From 2004 through 2006, CSF teamed up with the Nature Conservancy and many local organizations on a project to reduce habitat loss resulting from major infrastructure projects. The approach was to better inform stakeholders about the relative economic and environmental merits and impacts of the many construction projects planned for the region. CSF created an inventory of projects, trained conservation leaders in economic tools for project analysis and conducted four field studies. The field studies focused on the proposed roads and dams deemed of greatest environmental concern according to training participants.

Belo Monte Dam

In this study, we analyzed the costs and benefits of the Belo Monte project on the Xingu River in the Southern Amazon. For our analysis, we created three scenarios. The first examines only the “internal” costs and benefits of Belo Monte as an energy project, excluding the costs of its impacts on competing economic activities and the environment. In the second scenario we included some external costs: tourism losses, impacts on water supply and fisheries and declines in water quality during construction. The third scenario also includes these external costs, and estimated energy benefits based on an alternative model, called HydroSim, developed at the Campinas State University (UNICAMP) in São Paulo.

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.

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.

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.

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.