Compensation Payments for Downsides Generated by Protected Areas
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Protected areas are powerful instruments to tackle the biodiversity crises. However, local communities believe that protected areas generate downsides for which they should be compensated. We reviewed (1) problem evolution, (2) the idea of compensation schemes, and (3) practical considerations. We found that compensations for conservation-related losses are insufficiently considered when protected areas are established. Schemes include controversial resettlements of human populations, traditional reimbursements, and recently favored incentive payments to encourage local communities to conserve biodiversity on their lands. The compensation process is typically composed of the verification of losses/facts, estimation of costs, and delivery of payments. Compensation schemes promote tolerance and awareness, and responsibility of the broader society while minimizing confrontations. They have the power to mainstream concern about human welfare in protected area management, and are therefore a key to successful conservation. Verifying the impact of compensations on achievement of conservation goals remains, however, difficult to prove.
KeywordsBiodiversity conservation Valuation Nature reserves Effectiveness Stakeholders
We thank the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH—Centrum fuer internationale Migration und Entwicklung (GIZ-CIM) for supporting the position of PP. Funding for this project (No. 2010KYYW13) was kindly provided by the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences (CRAES). Five anonymous reviewers provided valuable comments on the previous version of this manuscript. We thank Paul Radley for thorough English editing.
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