Environmental Management

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 633–644 | Cite as

Trade-Offs Between Biodiversity Conservation and Economic Development in Five Tropical Forest Landscapes

  • Marieke Sandker
  • Manuel Ruiz-Perez
  • Bruce M. Campbell


This study explores how conservation and development are interlinked and quantifies their reciprocal trade-offs. It identifies interventions which hold a promise to improve both conservation and development outcomes. The study finds that development trajectories can either be at the cost of conservation or can benefit conservation, but in all cases sustained poverty negatively affects conservation in the long term. Most scenarios with better outcomes for conservation come at a cost for development and the financial benefits of payments for environmental services (PES) are not sufficient to compensate for lost opportunities to earn cash. However, implementation of strategies for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in locations with low population densities come close to overcoming opportunity costs. Environmental services and subsistence income enhance the attractiveness of conservation scenarios to local people and in situations where these benefits are obvious, PES may provide the extra cash incentive to tip the balance in favor of such a scenario. The paper stresses the importance of external factors (such as industrial investments and the development of the national economy) in determining landscape scale outcomes, and suggests a negotiating and visioning role for conservation agencies.


ICDP Participatory modeling PES REDD Scenarios 



The authors acknowledge the Livelihoods and Landscapes Initiative (LLS) from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for their financial support for the research done in several of the study locations.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marieke Sandker
    • 1
  • Manuel Ruiz-Perez
    • 1
  • Bruce M. Campbell
    • 2
  1. 1.Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM)MadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of Agriculture and EcologyUniversity of Copenhagen, Challenge Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)CopenhagenDenmark

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