Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wildlife, Property, and Poverty

Here is my prejudice of what Wildlife Reservation mostly entails: Central government or other remote organization fences off an area in order to preserve the natural environment. Local population is shut out of that deal. For the poor parts of the world, this will frequently imply that the region is shut off for what looks like poaching, but for many poor citizens are their necessary additions in a life of subsistence. In broader terms: a lot of preservation activity will go at the expense of especially the poor.

On the podcast EconTalk Russ Roberts speaks with Karol Boudreaux about Wildlife preservation in Namibia. Boudreaux reports a highly successful model of Wildlife Preservation that was developed in Namibia. The essence of the model is that the local community is involved. The areas come into communal property, making locals responsible for the wildlife preservation while enabling them to reap the profits. It turns out that the number one source of income that is generated is tourism. Locally run lodges are set up, bringing in the tourists and attracting other economic activity. The exploitation of the reservation involves not only tourism and thus the viewing of wildlife, there is also place for hunting. But in stead that poaching and hunting drains the wildlife, as a result of the communities taking care of their source of income, they make sure the hunting doesn't run the game out. These projects have succeeded in raising the Wildlife populations to great heights.

One of the regular readers of my blog alerted me to the EconTalk podcast and I happily agree that the recorded conversation is very effective. Russ Roberts is more than just a facilitator. He makes critical points and poses the right questions. In the economics category this is one of the best podcasts I have found so far.

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