The objective of the project is to assess the economic ramifications of conservation activities in the Greater Addo region.
This is the core of much Eastern Cape tourism as well as much of the province’s nature conservation activities. The aim is to assess the total consequences of the park for the local economy, and in particular the direct and indirect effects it has on local households. The park is currently expanding, and this expansion will entail significant amounts of land conversion. The implications of the Park’s current land use, and of this expansion for local socio-economic conditions provide the ultimate focus of the study. Who is really benefiting from the conversion of land to conservation?
The Addo Park was formed to conserve the remaining 11 elephants, but its role has extended to biodiversity conservation (Subtropical Thicket has some of the highest levels of endemism globally per kilometre (Vidaeus, 2002 in World Bank Memorandum: South Africa: Greater Addo Elephant National Park project submission for work program inclusion)) and social upliftment. It is also an engine of economic growth to the broader Addo region. The proposed research aims to quantify and assess these socio-economic contributions. The issue of primary concern is that much farmland in the Eastern Cape has already been converted from conventional livestock and crop cultivation to game farming or conservation. These conversions clearly involve opportunity costs. The extent of these and their implications can only be assessed by an analysis of both sides of the conversions. The area is remarkable for its heterogeneity of climates and soils. It is a truism that conversion takes place first on land with the lowest opportunity costs, but that these costs are likely to rise as the extent of conversion increases. The study will take attempt to assess the broader economic merits of local conversions to date and of further conversions at the current margin.