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Evaluating the impacts of protected areas on human well-being across the developing world
Authors: R. Naidoo, D. Gerkey, D. Hole, A. Pfaff, A. M. Ellis, C. D. Golden, D. Herrera, K. Johnson, M. Mulligan, T. H. Ricketts, and B. Fisher
Source: Economies, 5(4): eaav3006; DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav3006
Topic(s): Economics
Environment and natural resources
Health equity
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: APR 2019
Abstract: Protected areas (PAs) are fundamental for biodiversity conservation, yet their impacts on nearby residents are contested. We synthesized environmental and socioeconomic conditions of >87,000 children in >60,000 households situated either near or far from >600 PAs within 34 developing countries. We used quasi-experimental hierarchical regression to isolate the impact of living near a PA on several aspects of human well-being. Households near PAs with tourism also had higher wealth levels (by 17%) and a lower likelihood of poverty (by 16%) than similar households living far from PAs. Children under 5 years old living near multiple-use PAs with tourism also had higher height-for-age scores (by 10%) and were less likely to be stunted (by 13%) than similar children living far from PAs. For the largest and most comprehensive socioeconomic-environmental dataset yet assembled, we found no evidence of negative PA impacts and consistent statistical evidence to suggest PAs can positively affect human well-being.