Designing integrated conservation and development projects (ICDPs) : illegal hunting, wildlife conservation and the welfare of the local people

Designing integrated conservation and development projects (ICDPs) : illegal hunting, wildlife conservation and the welfare of the local people

Comparing ICDP conservation projects in Tanzania

Based on empirical evidence from Serengeti, Tanzania, this paper explores the effect on illegal hunting, wildlife conservation and human welfare of the most common instruments of existing Integrated Conservation and Development Projects (ICDPs). In order to do so the paper compares the performance of two different ICDP designs. One of the ICDPS is implemented without an explicit link between the benefit transfers - i.e. distribution of game meat from controlled culling and income transfers from the tourism sector - and the hunting activity of the local people. The other ICDP has incorporated this link.

Findings of the study include:

  • the success of benefit sharing is conditional on the ICDP design: benefit-sharing scheme implemented without a proper link to illegal hunting is less likely to succeed in gaining wildlife conservation
  • in this sceneraio it turns out that both game meat distribution and money transfers from tourism will contribute to wildlife degradation in this regime
  • in order for benefit sharing to succeed, this analysis shows that there must be a risk for the local people of being expelled from the transfers if they get caught in illegal hunting, and if such a risk is present, distribution of game meat and money transfers may succeed in promoting both wildlife conservation and human welfare
  • higher return from formal employment may promote wildlife conservation: as long as the effect working through an increased alternative cost of hunting is relatively strong, the local people will shift the allocation of labour from illegal hunting to formal employment.

The paper recommends that:

  • work should be done in order to design some type of explicit agreement over the benefit-sharing instruments between the management authorities and the local people
  • this agreement must specify the rights and duties of the respective parties and must be supported by enforceable penalties that provide enough incentives for the parties to comply
  • ICDP projects need to let go of the assumption that transfers and support alone will make people who live in periphery areas refrain from illegal hunting in absence of sufficient anti-poaching law enforcement and penalties.