A framework for assessing livelihood impacts of forest conservation programmes

The importance of integrating the needs and livelihoods of local communities with biodiversity conservation efforts is now widely recognised as a key element for sustainable conservation solutions. The policy mechanisms through which to achieve this integration, however, have rarely been tested and remain poorly understood.

This project aims to addresses this gap by developing a framework for evaluating the livelihood and conservation impacts of biodiversity projects which is then applied to the case of the Gola Forest Reserves in Sierra Leone, one of the largest remnant of Upper Guinea Tropical forest in West Africa and one of the world’s global biodiversity hotspots.

Other CCI-funded projects in Gola Forest related to this one include:

 This project was funded by the CCI Collaborative Fund for Conservation.

Project Aims

This project seeks to develop a framework for undertaking a randomized experimental policy evaluation study to assess the livelihood impacts of a major conservation project, namely the Gola Forest Programme. Our chosen methodology provides the best possible avenue for attempting to explicitly demonstrate a causal (and not merely correlational) analysis between a policy (treatment) and its outcomes (impacts). Such approaches have been used extensively and successfully in many other areas of public policy such as health, education or governance programmes but, to-date, there are no applications to assess the effectiveness of biodiversity policies.

The project aims to overcome both practical and ethical difficulties in applying this approach to the case of biodiversity conservation projects and then undertake an assessment of the Gola Forest project. This will be the first ever randomized experimental policy evaluation of a biodiversity conservation project and as such the project is truly and greatly novel.

CCI partners Involved

BirdLife International is a strategic global partnership of conservation organisations in over 100 countries, working to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, and to promote...
The Department of Land Economy's core research in economics, law and planning focuses on policies and regulations for the management of land and natural resources. There is particular expertise in...
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. It is the largest wildlife conservation organisation in...

Related Resources

Resource Title Description Type
Exploring whether behavior in context-free experiments is predictive of behavior in the field: Evidence from lab and field experiments in rural Sierra Leone The authors use a sample of subsistence farmers in Sierra Leone as respondents to compare behavior in a context-free experiment (a standard public goods game) and behavior in the field (a real... Journal articles
Overview of Research Activities Gola Forest, Sierra Leone This policy report slide presentation (November 2011) summarises the key preliminary findings and data collected through the CCI Collaborative Funded project A framework for assessing livelihood... Talks and presentations
Using Artefactual Field Experiments to Learn about the Incentives for Sustainable Forest Use in Developing Economies The authors describe in this paper the implementation of a public goods game and a social intervention modeled after a public goods game in rural Sierra Leone near the Gola Forest Reserve. They also... Journal articles
When Economics Meets Hierarchy: A Field Experiment on the Workings of the Invisible Hand In this working paper, the authors depart from the traditional experimental investigation of neoclassical competitive theory by using the tools of experimental economics in an actual marketplace. ... Working papers and reports