Targeted assistance needed to fight poverty in developing coastal communities

December 11, 2015

Researchers say there needs to be a better understanding of how conservation and aid projects in developing countries impact the people they are designed to help.

"Millions of dollars have been spent on integrated conservation and development projects that are aimed at improving people's lives in developing countries," says study lead author, Dr Georgina Gurney from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University.

"But our understanding of whether these projects are effective and how they impact people - positively or negatively - is very weak, particularly how they impact different groups within communities," Dr Gurney says.

Dr Gurney says conservation in developing countries has typically been based on the assumption that projects will be beneficial and affect all people equally, but this approach is too simplistic.

As part of their study published in a special edition of the Royal Society's journal, Philosophical Transactions B, the researchers explored the impact of marine conservation and development projects on fishing communities in Indonesia.

They examined how benefits and costs of the project were distributed across different groups within the communities, such as how the project affected men as opposed to women, or the elderly compared to young people.

"We found that the impacts are not always equal for everyone and this highlights a real problem when implementing projects," says Professor Bob Pressey from the Coral CoE.

"It's important to understand how different people are affected because unequal impacts can be seen as unfair, and this can lead to conflict and hinder poverty alleviation."

Dr Gurney adds that knowing how different community members respond to these projects means they can be tailored for the various sectors of society.

"For example, environmental education activities should be designed differently for different age groups because people's ability to learn new information varies," Dr Gurney says.

"A more nuanced understanding of how these projects affect people allows us to better design projects to alleviate poverty and ultimately, achieve objectives for environmental sustainability."
-end-
Paper

Integrated conservation and development: evaluating a community-based marine protected area project for equality of socioeconomic impacts, by Georgina G. Gurney, Robert L. Pressey, Joshua E. Cinner, Richard Pollnac, Stuart J. Campbell is published in the journal, Philosophical Transactions B. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0277 http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/370/1681/20140277

Images

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/39tr79b77i0k1i8/AACrDUVYqlYofWpqU_UbU_Aja?dl=0
Credit for all images: Georgina Gurney

Contacts

Dr Georgina Gurney, georgina.gurney@gmail.com, +61 (0) 43 746 2151

Prof Bob Pressey, bob.pressey@jcu.edu.au, +61 (0) 418 387 681

ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies

Related Conservation Articles from Brightsurf:

Measuring the true cost of conservation
BU Professor created the first high-resolution map of land value in the United states.

Environmental groups moving beyond conservation
Although non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have become powerful voices in world environmental politics, little is known of the global picture of this sector.

Hunting for the next generation of conservation stewards
Wildlife ecology students become the professionals responsible for managing the biodiversity of natural systems for species conservation.

Conservation research on lynx
Scientists at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (Leibniz-FMP) discovered that selected anti-oxidative enzymes, especially the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD2), may play an important role to maintain the unusual longevity of the corpus luteum in lynxes.

New 'umbrella' species would massively improve conservation
The protection of Australia's threatened species could be improved by a factor of seven, if more efficient 'umbrella' species were prioritised for protection, according to University of Queensland research.

Trashed farmland could be a conservation treasure
Low-productivity agricultural land could be transformed into millions of hectares of conservation reserve across the world, according to University of Queensland-led research.

Bats in attics might be necessary for conservation
Researchers investigate and describe the conservation importance of buildings relative to natural, alternative roosts for little brown bats in Yellowstone National Park.

Applying biodiversity conservation research in practice
One million species are threatened with extinction, many of them already in the coming decades.

Making conservation 'contagious'
New research reveals conservation initiatives often spread like disease, a fact which can help scientists and policymakers design programs more likely to be taken up.

Overturning the truth on conservation tillage
Conservation tillage does not lower yield in modern cropping systems.

Read More: Conservation News and Conservation Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.