Original Paper

Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 18, Issue 11, pp 2875-2892

First online:

Exploring the effectiveness of integrated conservation and development interventions in a Central African forest landscape

  • Marieke SandkerAffiliated withCenter for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Jalan CIFORUniversidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), Edif. de Biología Email author 
  • , Bruce M. CampbellAffiliated withCenter for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Jalan CIFORCharles Darwin University (CDU)
  • , Zacharie NzoohAffiliated withWorld Wildlife Fund (WWF), Jengi South Forest Programme
  • , Terry SunderlandAffiliated withCenter for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Jalan CIFOR
  • , Victor AmougouAffiliated withCentre pour l’Education, la Formation et l’Appui aux Initiatives de Développement au Cameroun (CEFAID)
  • , Louis DefoAffiliated withWorld Wildlife Fund (WWF), Jengi South Forest Programme
  • , Jeffrey SayerAffiliated withWorld Conservation Union (IUCN)

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Integrated conservation and development projects (ICDPs) have had limited success in addressing the often conflicting objectives of conservation and development. We developed a model with local participants to explore the trade-offs between conservation and development in southeastern Cameroon, where illegal hunting is regarded as the greatest challenge to conservation. We simulated the effects of different ICDP strategies by varying the degree of focus on antipoaching activities, anticorruption measures and direct development investments, and by varying the overall budget for such activities. Our outcome variables were numbers of selected wildlife species and household incomes. The model outcomes from the different scenarios were used to stimulate debate among stakeholders. Contributing to poverty alleviation while maintaining current animal population sizes will be extremely difficult and will require long-term external financial support. Devoting greater attention to improving local environmental governance emerged as the highest priority for this investment. We used the model outputs to inform some of the major policy makers in the region. Participatory modeling is a valuable means of capturing the complexities of achieving conservation at landscape scales and of stimulating innovative solutions to entrenched problems.


Cameroon Corruption Environmental governance ICDP Integrated conservation and development project Participatory modeling Trade-offs Simulation models