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Research to manage the Environment for Development

Recent publications


    Creating Protected Areas on Public Lands: Is There Room for Additional Conservation?

    Most evaluations of the effectiveness of PAs have relied on indirect estimates based on comparisons between protected and unprotected areas. Such methods can be biased when protection is not randomly assigned. We add to the growing literature on the impact of PAs by answering the following research questions: What is the impact of Chilean PAs on deforestation which occurred between 1986 and 2011? How do estimates of the impact of PAs vary when using only public land as control units?


    A synthesis of three decades of socio-ecological change in False Bay, South Africa: setting the scene for multidisciplinary research and management

    Over the past three decades, marine resource management has shifted conceptually from top-down sectoral approaches towards the more systems-oriented multi-stakeholder frameworks of integrated coastal management and ecosystem-based conservation. However, the successful implementation of such frameworks is commonly hindered by a lack of cross-disciplinary knowledge transfer, especially between natural and social sciences. This review represents a holistic synthesis of three decades of change in the oceanography, biology and human dimension of False Bay, South Africa.


    Saving Water at Cape Town Schools by using Smart Metering and Behavioural Change

    Cape Town made world headlines in 2018 as a major city on the brink of seeing its taps run dry. Its predicament drew attention to the challenge that water scarcity presents for cities in the 21st century. Globally, over four billion people face severe freshwater shortages and this number is expected to rise (Mekonnen and Hoekstra, 2016). The Water Resources Group (2017) predicts that by 2030 there will be a 40% gap between freshwater supply and demand if business-as-usual water management continues.


    Decision-Making within the Household: The Role of Autonomy and Differences in Preferences

    We use a eld experiment to identify how dierences in preferences and autonomy in decision-making result in sub-optimal adoption of technologies that can maximize the welfare of all members of the household. We create income-earning opportunities to empower subjects and elicit their willingness-to-pay (WTP) for improved cookstoves through a real stove purchase experiment with randomly chosen wives, husbands and couples.


    Linking Social Preferences and Ocean Acidification Impacts in Mussel Aquaculture

    Ocean Acidification (OA) has become one of the most studied global stressors in marine science worldwide during the last fifteen years. Despite the variety of studies on the biological effects of OA with marine commercial species, estimations of these impacts over consumers’ preferences have not been studied in detail, compromising our ability to undertake an assessment of some market and economic impacts resulting from OA at local scales. Here, we use a novel and interdisciplinary approach to fill this gap.


      Sanctioned Quotas vs. Information Provisioning for Community Wildlife Conservation in Zimbabwe: A Framed Field Experiment Approach

      We investigate the behavioural responses of resource users to two policy interventions: sanctioned quotas and information provisioning. We do so in a context in which multiple resources (pastures and wild animal stocks) are connected and could substantially and drastically deteriorate as a result of management. We perform an experimental study among communities that are managing common pool wildlife in Zimbabwe.


      Climate Impact on China’s Residential Electricity Consumption. Does the Level of Income Matter?

      It is widely accepted that energy use contributes to climate change, but, in turn, climate change can also affect energy demand. Plenty of literature proves the existence of this feedback mechanism, but there is still no consensus on its exact operation. This needs to be studied in detail in China, which is the largest electricity consumer in the world. One particularly interesting question is how the increasing income of China’s residents affects the climate sensitivity of electricity demand.


        Integrating Econometric Models of Land Use Change with Models of Ecosystem Services and Landscape Simulations to Guide Coastal Management and Planning for Flood Control

        This study develops an integrated framework to evaluate the relative effectiveness of alternative land use policies that target the management of natural resources in the face of climate change pressures. This framework is then applied to evaluate the relative performance of three different land use regulations that protect natural resources and alter current trends of urbanization using data from three rapidly urbanizing coastal counties in the southeastern United States facing growing risks of​ flooding.


        Factors Influencing People’s Perceptions Towards Conservation of Transboundary Wildlife Resources

        Local people’s perceptions about protected areas are important determinants of the success of conservation efforts in Southern Africa, as their perceptions affect their attitude and behaviour towards conservation. As a result, the involvement of local communities in transboundary wildlife conservation is now viewed as an integral part of regional development initiatives involving several countries.