Policy ForumEcology

Can Protected Areas Be Expanded in Africa?

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Science  10 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5459, pp. 1759-1760
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5459.1759

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Soulé & Sanjayan suggested that about 50% of the total land area is needed for protecting global biodiversity (Science, 27 March 1998, p. 2060). Such a target for nature conservation doesn't have a chance in Africa without serious and long-lasting investment in economic development. Economic development is a condition sine qua non for ambitious nature conservation projects in Africa. Therefore, Musters et al. plead for local sustainable development projects, preferably in presently domesticated areas. Such projects do not focus on nature conservation while compensating for economic losses, nor do they try to maximize economic growth; instead they look for optimal solutions by carefully considering economic, social, and ecological side effects of potential developments.