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. We formulate a bio-economic 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 institutional reforms in benefit-sharing schemes could result in the decisions of CAMPFIRE communities gravitating towards the social optimum.
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