In the Media
Environment versus economy: local communities find economic benefits from living next to conservation areas
June 13, 2011
While few would question that conserving a certain percentage of land or water is good for society overall, it has long been believed that protected areas economically impoverish, rather than enrich, communities living adjacent to them. Many communities worldwide have protested against the establishment of conservation areas near them, fearing that less access and increased regulations would imperil their livelihoods. However, a surprising study overturns the common wisdom: showing that, at least in Thailand and Costa Rica, protected areas actually boost local economies and decrease poverty.
In these case studies, the researchers found that in fact living near a protected area was on average a benefit: in Thailand poverty headcount dropped by 8 percent and in Costa Rica poverty was reduced by 10 percent.
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Keywords: Asia, Costa Rica, environment, Latin America, protected area, Thailand