This paper uses a bioeconomic model to analyse wildlife conservation in two habitats adjacent to a national park by two types of communities in the context of Southern Africa. One community is made up of peasant farmers operating under a benefit-sharing scheme (CAMPFIRE) while the other is made up of commercial farmers practising game farming in a conservancy (the Save Valley 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. We formulate a bioeconomic model for the three agents, optimize the market problem for each agent and compare the outcomes with the social planner’s solution. Our results show that the level of anti-poaching enforcement by the park agency is suboptimal, while anti-poaching effort exerted by the conservancy community achieves social optimality. CAMPFIRE communities exert more poaching effort than what the social planner would recommend. Our model shows that an improvement in community institutions might have a significant impact on growth of the wildlife stock through their role in constraining behaviour. Thus, institutional reforms in benefit-sharing schemes such as CAMPFIRE could result in the local community behaving like game farming communities such as the Save Valley Conservancy.
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