This thematic program examines marine resource conservation. This multi-center collaborative project, the first within this thematic program, focuses on improving policy to promote coastal conservation through marine protected areas (MPAs) and related management tools. Because signatories of the Convention on Biological Diversity have committed to establishing MPAs on 10 percent of their coastal waters, a widespread expansion of these areas is underway worldwide.
Despite the centrality of African parks and other protected areas to nature-based tourism, they capture only a fraction of its value. For this reason, national parks and other protected areas have mostly relied on fiscal transfers from the state to fund their conservation activities.
Recreational angling is a popular past time in South Africa and has been shown to make a substantial contribution to the economy. However, recreational fishing pressure has led to the severe decline and collapse of many of the species targeted in the fishery. Recent studies suggest that both the numbers many of the fish species targeted have vulnerable life history strategies, with
Community-based wildlife conservation has become popular with both policymakers and development practitioners alike as a vehicle for rural development in Southern Africa. A significant proportion of wildlife in the region is a common pool resource (CPR) and is managed under community-based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) arrangements.
Ecosystems provide a range of essential services which underpin human well-being (e.g.
This project is concerned with identifying, assessing and valuing ecosystem services found on the section of land belonging to the Khomani San contractual park and their farms.
This project explores whether the adoption of new farming practices is decreasing in ambiguity aversion, while conversely, the uptake of insurance is increasing in ambiguity aversion. Such a result will strengthen the argument in favour of mechanisms of risk diffusion, such as insurance products for small-scale farmers.
This project thrives to determine how the Kgalagadi Transfrontier park can serve as a drive in tourism that generates economic and social benefits to land claimants and as a result maximize the positive spill over effects on the Khomani San people.
The objectives of this study are to provide a spatial analysis of the total economic value of the SA coast, focusing on the values generated by different types of protected areas versus other stretches of coast.
An applied economics survey among South African subsistence farmers
A tool to shape public policies?
In this research project EfD aims to draw lessons from land reforms in several Asian and African countries. The findings will be presented in a book edited by Professors Stein Holden and Keijiro Otsuka and titled "Land Reforms in Asia and Africa - Impacts on Poverty and Natural Resource Management".
Wetlands are considered to perform a number of ecosystem services, including the improvement of water quality. However, few empirical studies have been carried out on the capacity of wetlands to perform a water treatment function, or on the demand for this function, with the result that most estimates of the value of this service are based on a weak foundation. Furthermore, the measurement of this function is confounded by the complications in trying to assess water quality entering and leaving wetlands because of surface to groundwater interactions.
Scepticism with respect to the consequences of climate change is declining worldwide as this issue takes a prominent place on global political agenda. However, the overall extent and magnitude of climate change consequences are still extremely uncertain. As such, any economic analysis of climate change must take cognisance of the economics of risk and uncertainty.
Nature based tourism is a popular and rapidly growing industry in South Africa. Developing nations are finding it useful to use their natural resources in order to create competitive advantage over the developed world.
In this project we are investigate the trade off between countries’ investments in adaptation and mitigation. We study how the investment behaviour in these two types of investments differs between types of countries (where countries differ in terms of vulnerability).
This study seeks to explore the relationship between abalone poaching, use of methamphetamine and crime activity in the coastal communities of South Africa; and the associated implications for the management of the resource.
Using what amounts to a field experiment we analyse whether the electricity consumption patterns of consumers are altered by the experience of blackouts and the exposure to Eskom’s communication. Secondly; we analyse bargaining experiments focussed on disputes concerning conservation-land owned by the South African National Defence Force and the conservation agencies.
The research project led by Dr Stephanie Giamporcaro focuses on Environmental Finance and Environmental Investment. The research program aims thus to explore how environmentally responsible investment approaches are implemented currently in South Africa and how the implementation of these strategies in the country’s financial and investment sector can be facilitated in order to promote a sustainable growth in South Africa and a sustainable use of natural resources .
Read about what EfD centers around the world have been up to during the last year in terms of research highlights and how our research relate to the Sustainable Development Goals.
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.
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.
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.
Wildlife is widely becoming an important vehicle for rural development in most third-world countries across the globe. With wildlife, as with other conservation and development policies, policymakers are usually not informed about the needs and wants of poor rural households and roll out programmes that are not tailor made to suit their desires, which often results in policy failure. We use a survey-based choice experiment in this paper to investigate household preferences for various attributes of a wildlife management scheme.
We use behavioural insights to design nudges, leveraging social comparison and assignment of responsibility, aimed at reducing electricity consumption in a large provincial government office building with 24 floors, a total of 1008 occupants. Results from a randomized control trial show that floors participating in a treatment with inter-floor competitions and tips reduced energy consumption by 9%, while those that also included floor-wise “energy advocates” reduced energy consumption by 14% over a period of 5 months.
Watershed management is a complex activity with constraints on funding and human
resources in many parts of the world, and there is a need for global effort to identify
strategies that can work. To complement regulatory approaches, attention is now also being
given to market-based incentives because of their potential cost-effectiveness. This study
seeks to provide impetus to the use of the most successful market-based incentives to
promote sustainable watershed practices through strengthening and increasing direct participation
South African researchers integral to UN ‘natural capital accounting’ pilot
by Leonie Joubert
Natural environments in and around the South African coastal city of Durban provide goods and services to the national economy that amount to an estimated US$ 350 million (R 4.2 billion) each year. This ‘conservative estimate’ includes the value of resources that people collect from their natural surroundings, such as wild-harvested foods, firewood and timber, or water taken from rivers for home use.
This article examines the effect of commercial bank performance on an indicator of energy efficiency (i.e. energy intensity) while controlling for the mediating effect of political institution. To achieve this goal, the study develops a theoretical model based on the neoclassical theory of the firm that links energy efficiency to bank sector development, and a unique bank-based data by Andrianova et al. (2015) for 43 Sub-Saharan African countries from 1998 to 2012.
The use of small-scale off-grid renewable energy for rural electrification is now seen as part of the sustainable energy solutions. The expectation from such small-scale investment is that it can meet the basic energy needs of a household and subsequently improve someaspects of household welfare. However, these stated benefits remain largely hypothetical because there are data and methodological challenges in existing literature attempting to isolate such impact.
Herein we investigate Life Cycle Cost (LCC) and Return on Investment (ROI) as potential decision variables for evaluating the economic performance (ROI) and financial feasibility (LCC) of a set of flood mitigation strategies over time. The main novelty of this work is the application of LCC and ROI analyses at the urban level to an asset portfolio of flood-prone buildings. Reduced flood damage is treated probabilistically as avoided costs (LCC analysis) and returns (ROI analysis), respectively.
This study looks at the determinants of farm technology uptake, with attention to farmers’ risk preference and income. We use a field experiment to elicit measures of risk aversion, loss aversion, and non-linear weights of probability. We then relate these measures to the uptake of drought-resistant and improved seeds. In light of the poverty trap theory, we also consider the role that income plays in risk preference. Our findings suggest that farm risk management policies need to take into account the role of risk and loss preferences in uptake decisions.
We used locally-sourced and other relevant information to value ecosystem services provided by South Africa's
terrestrial, freshwater and estuarine habitats. Our preliminary estimates suggest that these are worth at least
R275 billion per annum to South Africans. Notwithstanding benefits to the rest of the world, natural systems
provide a major source of direct income to poor households, and generate significant value in the economy
through tourism and property markets, as well as providing considerable non-market benefits. Higher values
Participation of local communities in management and utilization of forest resources through collective action has become widely accepted as a possible solution to failure of centralized, top-down approaches to forest conservation. Developing countries have thus resorted to devolution of forest management through initiatives such as Participatory Forest Management (PFM) and Joint Forest Management (JFM). In Kenya, under such initiatives, communities have been able to self-organize into community forest associations (CFAs).
Africa is endowed with an incredible amount of natural resources of which
the extractive sector is a key component. Unfortunately, however, the continent
is characterized by a paradox of plenty or resource curse, depicting a situation
of abundant resources that have not translated into economic growth and
prosperity for the population. The potential role of the extractive sector is
further affected by global volatilities. This article reviews the importance of
the extractive sector to selected African countries. It identifies sources of
This paper uses a bio-economic model to analyze wildlife conservation in two habitats adjacent to a national park by two types of communities in Zimbabwe. One community is made up of peasant farmers operating under a benefit-sharing scheme such as CAMPFIRE, while the other is made up of commercial farmers practicing game farming in a conservancy. Both communities exploit wildlife by selling hunting licenses to foreign hunters but with different levels of success. The park agency plays a central role by authorizing the harvest quota for each community.
Why do many smallholder farmers fail to adopt what appear to be relatively simple agronomic
or management practices which can help them cope with climate-induced stressors?
Using household and plot level data collected in 2011, we implement a
multivariate probit model to assess the determinants of farmer adaptation behavior to climatic
risks and the relative contribution of information, credit and education on the probability
of adopting specific practices in response to adverse changes in weather patterns.
Predation of livestock in South Africa has been estimated to cost in excess of ZAR1 billion in losses per
year and has complex social, economic and ecological drivers and consequences. In this context, livestock
can be broadly defined as domesticated animals and wildlife (the former excluding poultry and the latter
including ostrich, Struthio camelus) managed for commercial purposes or human benefit in free-ranging (or
semi-free ranging) circumstances that render them vulnerable to predation. This conflict between livestock
Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is increasingly being promoted as a cost-effective means of adaptation
to climate change. However, in spite of considerable international press, there is still little evidence to
substantiate this claim. This study proposes a method through which the cost-effectiveness of EbA
strategies can be evaluated against alternative adaptation options, and contributes to South African
literature on the subject. The potential cost-effectiveness of wetland restoration is assessed as a means of
This paper seeks to examine how communities value a variety of dryland environmental amenities provided by the Kgalagadi Transfontier Park where there is an interest in limiting their access, both in order to protect the environment and in order to make it more attractive for tourists. This is done using a choice experiment, which targeted households in the Kgalagadi area.
Sharing conservation revenue with communities surrounding parks could demonstrate the link
between ecotourism and local communities’ economic development, promote a positive view of
land restitution involving parks, help address skewed distribution of income in the vicinity of parks
and act as an incentive for local communities to participate in conservation even more. This article
estimates the visitation demand function for Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) in order to
With the ongoing changes in climate, household food insecurity is likely to be more widespread in most small-holder and subsistence farm households in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the existence and extent of gendered household food security—or lack thereof—remains unclear.
Read about EfD research applied around the developing world during 2017. Take a look at each EfD Center's Stories!
A linear public good experiment adopted from Holt and Laury [1997. Classroom games: Voluntary provision of a public good. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 11(4), 209–215.] has been employed to investigate strategic behaviour in pollution abatement among African climate decision-makers. The experiment consisted of three groups, of which groups 2 and 3 received one and two treatments, respectively.
A new methodology, Tracking Underreported Financial Flows (TUFF), leverages open-source
information on development finance by non-transparent, non-Western donors. If such open-source methods
prove to be valid and reliable, they can enhance our understanding of the causes and consequences of
development finance from non-transparent donors including, but not limited to, China. But open-source methods
face charges of inaccuracy. In this study we create and field-test a replicable ‘ground-truthing’ methodology to
With ongoing climate change, food insecurity is likely to become more widespread in most small-holder and subsistence farm households in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the existence and extent of gendered food (in)security remains unclear. This study extends existing knowledge by assessing gender inequality in food (in)security amongst small-holder farm households in urban and rural areas of South Africa. To do so, we use the gender of the head of household in a treatment effects framework.
African wildlife conservation has been transformed, shifting from a traditional, state-managed
government approach to a broader governance approach with a wide range of actors designing and
implementing wildlife policy. The most widely popularized approach has been that of community managed
nature conservancies. The knowledge of how institutions function in relation to humans
and their use of the environment is critical to the design and implementation of effective conservation.
South Africa, a main food exporter in SADC, is characterised by a dual agricultural economy consisting of a well-developed commercial sector and smallholder, often subsistence, farming. Using the Ricardian cross-sectional framework, we examine the impact of climate change on a nationwide sample of crop, horticulture, livestock and mixed commercial farming systems.
Extant literature on Joint Forest Management (JFM) impact evaluation has concluded that it generally does not provide sufficient incentives to justify the costs that forest use restrictions impose on local people. However, there is a dearth of evidence concerning whether alternative JFM intervention with improved market linkages for non-timber forest products has similar implications.
Inshore line fish stocks are severely depleted in South Africa. Although management efforts have addressed pressures from the commercial and subsistence sectors, management of the recreational sector still needs to be addressed. Evidence suggests that spatial management measures would be more successful than traditional size and bag limits. In order to inform a spatial approach, this study investigated the determinants of temporal and spatial variability in angler distribution around the coast.
Zimbabwe’s community-based conservation model, which brings together peasant farmers in a tourism-focused approach to wildlife management, has not reduced the community’s poaching pressure on wildlife stocks in the protected area of Gonarezhou National Park (GNP) as much as intended.