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Protected areas (PAs) play an important role in conserving biodiversity and providing ecosystem services, yet their effectiveness is undermined by funding shortfalls. Using lions (Panthera leo) as a proxy for PA health, we assessed available funding relative to budget requirements for PAs in Africa's savannahs. We compiled a dataset of 2015 funding for 282 state-owned PAs with lions. We applied three methods to estimate the minimum funding required for effective conservation of lions, and calculated deficits. We estimated minimum required funding as $978/km2 per year based on the cost of effectively managing lions in nine reserves by the African Parks Network; $1,271/km2 based on modeled costs of managing lions at ≥50% carrying capacity across diverse conditions in 115 PAs; and $2,030/km2 based on Packer et al.'s [Packer et al. (2013) Ecol Lett 16:635-641] cost of managing lions in 22 unfenced PAs. PAs with lions require a total of $1.2 to $2.4 billion annually, or ∼$1,000 to 2,000/km2, yet received only $381 million annually, or a median of $200/km2 Ninety-six percent of range countries had funding deficits in at least one PA, with 88 to 94% of PAs with lions funded insufficiently. In funding-deficit PAs, available funding satisfied just 10 to 20% of PA requirements on average, and deficits total $0.9 to $2.1 billion. African governments and the international community need to increase the funding available for management by three to six times if PAs are to effectively conserve lions and other species and provide vital ecological and economic benefits to neighboring communities.
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More than $1 billion needed annually to secure Africas
protected areas with lions
Peter A. Lindsey
, Jennifer R. B. Miller
, Lisanne S. Petracca
, Lauren Coad
, Amy J. Dickman
Kathleen H. Fitzgerald
, Michael V. Flyman
, Paul J. Funston
, Philipp Henschel
, Samuel Kasiki
, Kathryn Knights
Andrew J. Loveridge
, David W. Macdonald
, Roseline L. Mandisodza-Chikerema
, Sean Nazerali
Andrew J. Plumptre
, Riko Stevens
, Hugo W. Van Zyl
, and Luke T. B. Hunter
Panthera, New York, NY 10018;
Mammal Research Institute, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa;
Environmental Futures Research Institute, Griffith University, Nathan, QLD 4222, Australia;
Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and
Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720;
Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, State University of New York College of
Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210;
Centre for International Forestry Research, Bogor 16115, Indonesia;
Wildlife Conservation
Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, The Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Tubney OX13 5QL, United Kingdom;
African Wildlife
Foundation, Nairobi 00502, Kenya;
Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Gaborone, Botswana;
Kenya Wildlife Service, Nairobi 00100, Kenya;
of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3052, Australia;
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Harare, Zimbabwe;
Independent analyst/researcher, Maputo 1100, Mozambique;
Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NY 10460;
Conservation Science Group, Zoology
Department, Cambridge University, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, United Kingdom;
Independent Economic Researchers, Cape Town 8001, South Africa; and
of Life Sciences, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban 4000, South Africa
Edited by James A. Estes, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, and approved September 11, 2018 (received for review March 22, 2018)
Protected areas (PAs) play an important role in conserving biodi-
versity and providing ecosystem services, yet their effectiveness is
undermined by funding shortfalls. Using lions (Panthera leo)asa
proxy for PA health, we assessed available funding relative to
budget requirements for PAs in Africas savannahs. We compiled
a dataset of 2015 funding for 282 state-owned PAs with lions. We
applied three methods to estimate the minimum funding required
for effective conservation of lions, and calculated deficits. We es-
timated minimum required funding as $978/km
per year based on
the cost of effectively managing lions in nine reserves by the Af-
rican Parks Network; $1,271/km
based on modeled costs of man-
aging lions at 50% carrying capacity across diverse conditions in
115 PAs; and $2,030/km
based on Packer et al.s [Packer et al.
(2013) Ecol Lett 16:635641] cost of managing lions in 22 unfenced
PAs. PAs with lions require a total of $1.2 to $2.4 billion annually,
or $1,000 to 2,000/km
, yet received only $381 million annually,
or a median of $200/km
. Ninety-six percent of range countries
had funding deficits in at least one PA, with 88 to 94% of PAs with
lions funded insufficiently. In funding-deficit PAs, available fund-
ing satisfied just 10 to 20% of PA requirements on average, and
deficits total $0.9 to $2.1 billion. African governments and the in-
ternational community need to increase the funding available for
management by three to six times if PAs are to effectively con-
serve lions and other species and provide vital ecological and eco-
nomic benefits to neighboring communities.
conservation effectiveness
funding need
Protected areas (PAs) are the foundation of international ef-
forts to secure biodiversity (1, 2). PAs play a critical role
in conserving high-priority species, including the African lion
(Panthera leo), one of the most iconic symbols of Africa and a
proxy for ecological health (3, 4). At least 56% of lion range falls
within PAs, and the species reaches its highest population densi-
ties in PAs with high prey densities and where lion populations are
well-managed and protected from primary threats (3, 5). Short-
falls in funding, combined with mounting human pressures, have
weakened the management capacity in most African PAs and
contributed to rapid declines in numbers of lions, their prey, and
other species (69). Lion numbers have decreased by 43% in just
two decades, to as few as 23,000 to 35,000 wild individuals (8, 10).
If managed optimally, Africas PAs could theoretically support
three to four times more wild lions than the current continental
total, which would secure the ecosystems that lions encompass
and allow for conservation gains for many other species (3).
Investing more financial resources into Africas PAs would not
only strengthen the conservation of lions and their ecosystems, but
also generate social and economic benefits for Africa and the
world at large. Africas PAs encompass species and areas of natural
heritage that are of great symbolic and cultural significance both
within Africa and elsewhere, perhaps most notably in the West
(4, 11, 12). PAs also support and supply vital ecosystem services to
African countries (1315) and bolster and diversify rural and na-
tional economies via nature-based tourism (9, 1618). Visitation to
parks and reserves has been increasing in Africa to the extent that,
in Southern Africa, for instance, ecotourism generates as much
revenue as farming, forestry, and fishing combined (19, 20).
However, Africas PAs are often underfunded and receive less
international support than their global value merits or than is
Protected areas (PAs) are the cornerstone of conservation yet
face funding inadequacies that undermine their effectiveness.
Using the conservation needs of lions as a proxy for those of
wildlife more generally, we compiled a dataset of funding in
Africas PAs with lions and estimated a minimum target for
conserving the species and managing PAs effectively. PAs with
lions require $1.2 to $2.4 billion or $1,000 to $2,000/km
nually, yet receive just $381 million or $200/km
(median) an-
nually. Nearly all PAs with lions are inadequately funded;
deficits total $0.9 to $2.1 billion. Governments and donors must
urgently and significantly invest in PAs to prevent further de-
clines of lions and other wildlife and to capture the economic,
social, and environmental benefits that healthy PAs can confer.
Author contributions: P.A.L., J.R.B.M., and L.S.P. designed research; P.A.L., J.R.B.M., L.S.P.,
L.C., A.J.D., K.H.F., M.V.F. , P.J.F., P.H., S.K., K.K., A.J.L., D.W.M., R.L .M.-C., S.N., A.J.P.,
H.W.V.Z., and L.T.B.H. performed research; P.A.L. and L.S.P. contributed new reagents/
analytic tools; J.R.B .M., L.S.P., L.C., A.J.D., K.H.F. , M.V.F., P.J.F., P.H., S.K., K.K., A. J.L.,
D.W.M., R.L.M.-C., S.N., A.J.P., R.S., H.W.V.Z., and L.T.B.H. analyzed data; P.A.L.,
J.R.B.M., L.S.P., L.C., A.J.D., K.H.F., M.V.F., P.J.F., P.H., S.K., K.K., A.J.L., D.W.M., R.L.M.-C.,
S.N., A.J.P., R.S., H.W.V.Z., and L.T.B.H. wrote the paper; and L.T.B.H. supervised
the project.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.
Published under the PNAS license.
P.A.L., J.R.B.M., and L.S.P. contributed equally to this work.
To whom correspondence should be addressed. Email:
This article contains supporting information online at
1073/pnas.1805048115/-/DCSupplemental. PNAS Latest Articles
required to unlock their economic or ecological potential. While
many African governments spend proportionally more on PA
networks relative to their economic means than countries in
other parts of the world (21), rapidly declining wildlife pop-
ulations and the poaching crisis in Africa indicate that such ex-
penditures are insufficient to protect wildlife (22). In addition,
funding levels are widely divergent among African countries,
with a handful of countries investing sufficiently, while the ma-
jority invests far less than is required for the effective functioning
of PAs (23). Continent-wide funding of PAs is so low that most
African countries risk losing the majority of their remaining
wildlife resources before they have chance to benefit from them
in economic terms (11). As PAs become depleted and ecologi-
cally degraded, benefits from tourism earnings decrease relative
to those from conversion of the land to agriculture or develop-
ment, making PAs increasingly difficult to justify in economic
and political terms (24, 25). As a result, many PAs have already
been downsized, downgraded, or degazetted (9, 26).
Investment in PAs must clearly be increased, but by how much
is unclear. Budgets are notoriously challenging to track due to
some state wildlife authoritiesunwillingness to make their bud-
gets available publicly and the variations in accounting method-
ologies between countries (27). Reputable estimates for African
PA budgets are valuable but are now 10 to 34 y out of date due to
the rapidly increasing and diversifying anthropogenic pressures on
PAs (23, 2830). A reassessment of the costs of maintaining
Africas PAs amid current threats is urgently needed.
Lions are a useful species for assessing funding requirements
for PAs. The species is listed as vulnerable on the International
Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List (31) and is
affected by a wide range of threats, including habitat loss, prey
depletion, retaliatory killing by people, and targeted poaching,
which also drive declines in many other wildlife species. Hence,
their conservation status is emblematic of the human pressures
facing wildlife more generally in Africa (10). Because lions are a
keystone and umbrella species, adequate investment to secure
their future is likely to protect numerous other species, as well as
preserve ecosystem function and safeguard the long-term via-
bility of Africas PAs (4, 32).
Here, we report on the funding available for Africas PAs with
lions and use three different methods to estimate the minimum
amount required for effective conservation of the species. We
also explore associations among funding, management capacity,
and PA characteristics to identify the patterns and magnitude of
financial shortfalls. This work provides a minimum financial
target for conserving lions and, more broadly, for securing prey
populations and the ecological and economic services offered by
PAs on which people and biodiversity depend.
We collected funding data for 282 PAs covering 1.2 million
square kilometers in 23 of 27 African lion-range countries (see
Methods for information on data availability). Africas PAs with
lions receive a minimum of $381 million in total funding annually
(Table 1). Annual funding varied widely among individual PAs,
from $6/km
to $17,449/km
, with a median of $200/km
. When
PAs were aggregated at a national scale, PAs in Cameroon re-
ceived the lowest investment (median of $21/km
), while PAs in
four other countries (Angola, Niger, South Sudan, and Senegal)
also received less than $50/km
in total funding (Fig. 1 and Table 1).
Even Tanzania, which supports 40% of the global lion pop-
ulation, and most of the other countries that contain at least
1,000 lions (Zambia, Central African Republic, Mozambique,
Botswana, and Zimbabwe; ref. 8), suffer from severe under-
resourcing, with median budgets of less than $300/km
(Table 1).
Some countries, like Tanzania, are characterized by relatively
higher budgets for national parks but lower budgets for other
types of PAs, which comprise the majority of the protected es-
tate. At the other end of the spectrum, three countries showed
budgets above $1,600/km
(Kenya, Rwanda, and South Africa;
Table 1). Regional funding was marginally higher in East Africa
(median of $265/km
) than in Southern ($200/km
) or West-
Central Africa (262/km
;SI Appendix, Table S1).
Three independent methods estimated that an annual mini-
mum funding requirement of $1,000 to $2,000/km
is necessary,
on average, for PAs to effectively conserve lions. African Parks
Network spent a mean of $978/km
(SD, $773/km
) per year
(range, $497 to 1,833/km
). Our study model determined a
higher threshold of $1,271/km
for effective PAs (95% CI,
$457 to $2,423/km
)(SI Appendix, Fig. S1 and Table S2). Packer
et al.s (5) inflation-adjusted estimate represented the highest
requirement at $2,030/km
These estimates predict that Africas PAs with lions require a
total of at least $1.2 to $2.4 billion annually to conserve lions
effectively (Table 1). Among countries, total funding require-
ments generally varied with the number of PAs and the number
of PAs with lions; for example, from as low as $1 million in
Rwanda (n=1 PA with lions) and $3 million in Niger (n=2)
and Chad (n=1), to as high as $173 million in Tanzania (n=37)
and $203 million in Botswana (n=49), based on the African
Parks Network method (Table 1).
In comparing available funding with required funding for ef-
fective conservation, we estimated a total annual deficit ranging
from $0.9 to $2.1 billion across all assessed PAs (SI Appendix,
Table S3). Funding deficits existed in 88% (African Parks Net-
work) to 94% [Packer et al. (5)] of PAs with lions (Fig. 2). Of
23 countries assessed, 22 (96%) had at least one PA with deficit,
and PAs in only three countries were funded above minimum
funding requirements on average [Kenya, South Africa, and
Rwanda (Rwanda was the only country without PA deficit;
however, as stated earlier, Rwanda has n=1 PA with lions) Fig.
1B, Table 2, and SI Appendix, Table S4]. As expected, the highest
total deficits occurred in countries with the most and largest PAs
with lions: in Botswana (n=49 PAs with lions), Zambia (n=35),
Tanzania (n=37), and Mozambique (n=21) (Fig. 1A). In
ranking countries by median deficit per square kilometer, the
highest deficits occurred in the Central African Republic
($944 to $2,009/km
;n=4) and Angola ($944 to $1,996/km
where only 1 to 2% and 2 to 3% of funding needs were met on
average, respectively (Fig. 1Band Table 2).
In PAs with deficits, just 10 to 20% of funding requirements
were available on average (SI Appendix, Table S4). Funding
shortfalls were widespread and extensive: 27 to 59% of countries
in deficit showed shortages of >90% of required funding on
average (Fig. 3). The vast majority of countries (87%) reported
lower average available funding per square kilometer across all
PAs than even the lowest $978/km
amount estimated as nec-
essary for effective conservation of lions (Table 1). Only three of
all countries assessed (South Africa, Rwanda, and Kenya) showed
average funding levels higher than the minimum needed (Table
1), and even in these relatively well-funded countries, a significant
proportion of PAs showed deficits (2 of 13 PAs in South Africa
and up to 17 of 20 PAs in Kenya; Fig. 1 and Table 2).
State funding was twice as large as donor support (Table 1).
State funding per unit area was more than three times as high in
Southern Africa than in other regions, whereas donor funding
per unit area was higher in West-Central Africa than in other
regions (SI Appendix, Table S1). Accordingly, several countries
in Southern Africa (Botswana and Namibia) and East Africa
(Kenya and Tanzania) were especially reliant on state support,
while several countries in West-Central Africa (Democratic
Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic) and Southern
Africa (Angola and Malawi) were largely reliant on donor contri-
butions (Fig. 4).
Higher funding per square kilometer was associated with
smaller-sized, fully fenced PAs that contained rhinos, supported
| Lindsey et al.
active tourism, were part of a Transfrontier Conservation Area
(TFCA), were jointly managed by a nonprofit organization, and
were located in a country with lower corruption (model fit R
0.98; SI Appendix, Fig. S2 and Table S5). Donor contributions
were higher in smaller, fully fenced PAs of IUCN category I or II
that supported active tourism, were comanaged by a nonprofit
partner, and were located in countries with lower gross domestic
product (GDP) (R
=0.91; SI Appendix,TablesS6andS7).
Greater state funding was associated with smaller PAs that con-
tained rhinos, were part of a TFCA and IUCN category I or II
located in East Africa and in countries with higher GDP, and were
not comanaged by a nonprofit (R
=0.91; SI Appendix,TableS8).
Among PAs, higher funding per square kilometer was associ-
ated with higher management capacity (r=0.54, P<0.001; Fig.
5A), lower threat to wildlife (r=0.28, P=0.001; Fig. 5B), and
the availability of more patrol vehicles and staff (r=0.71 and r=
0.67, respectively, both P<0.001; Fig. 5 Cand D). In turn,
greater management capacity was associated with a lower threat
to wildlife (r=0.28, P=0.003) and more staff and vehicles (r=
0.42 and r=0.44, respectively, both P<0.001).
Our findings reveal major deficits in the management funding of
Africas PAs with lions. For PAs to achieve baseline effective
conservation of lions (which reflects effective management more
generally), overall funding must be increased by three to six
times to meet minimum needthat is, adding $0.9 to $2.1 billion
to supplement the $381 million of total annual funding already
available. Existing funding is highly skewed, with a minority of
PAs funded above minimum required levels, while the majority
Table 1. Management funding and estimated minimum need for effective lion conservation in PAs with lions, aggregated by country
Rank Country (ISO code) Region
Total funding State funding Donor funding
Minimum required
funding,* $mil
PAs with
lions, n
Lion PA
total area,
et al. (5)
1 South Africa (ZAF) Southern 3,014
3,014 57.59 No data No data 28.09 36.51 58.31 9 28,725
2 Rwanda (RWA) East 2,206 2.25 245 0.25 1,960 2.00 1.00 1.30 2.07 1 1,020
3 Kenya (KEN) East 1,688 59.61 1,435 51.95 82 7.66 35.39 46.00 73.47 20 36,190
4 Chad (TCD) West-
No data No data 753 2.29 2.98 3.87 6.18 1 3,043
5 Malawi (MWI) Southern 690 2.79 6 0.04 681 2.75 4.44 5.77 9.22 4 4,540
6 Benin (BEN) West-
557 6.27 54 0.80 498 5.46 12.54 16.30 26.03 6 12,822
7 Uganda (UGA) East 418 5.50 332 2.96 85 2.54 9.66 12.56 20.05 9 9,879
8 Burkina Faso (BFA) West-
370 3.37 207 1.62 164 1.75 10.46 13.60 21.72 13 10,700
9 Zimbabwe (ZWE) Southern 241 16.06 235 10.32 1 or 272
5.75 42.94 55.80 89.12 22 43,903
10 Botswana (BWA) Southern 200 42.46 189 39.26 11 3.20 203.16 264.03 421.69 49 207,731
11 Tanzania (TAZ) East 176 85.74 41 62.24 54 23.50 173.27 225.18 359.64 37 177,164
12 Namibia (NAM) Southern 166 17.07 0 13.29 35 3.78 63.34 82.31 131.47 10 64,763
13 Mozambique (MOZ) Southern 135 24.09 4 1.87 121 22.22 114.56 148.88 237.79 21 117,138
14 Central African
Republic (CAF)
128 3.66 29 0.27 84 3.39 8.80 11.44 18.27 4 8,999
15 Democratic
of the Congo (COD)
116 11.19 0 0.00
116 11.19 47.70 61.99 99.01 5 48,771
16 Zambia (ZMB) Southern 116 23.88 70 10.88 46 13.00 151.94 197.46 315.38 35 155,361
17 Nigeria (NGA) West-
103 0.58 58 0.37 45 0.21 6.47 8.41 13.42 2 6,613
18 Ethiopia (ETH) East 63 6.80 45 2.21 35 4.59 47.78 62.09 99.17 17 48,852
19 Senegal (SEN) West-
47 0.39 31 0.26 16 0.13 8.05 10.47 16.72 1 8,234
20 South Sudan (SSD) East 45 2.94 9 0.60 4 2.34 73.35 95.32 152.24 9 74,996
21 Niger (NER) West-
43 0.11 26 0.06 17 0.04 2.93 3.81 6.09 2 3,000
22 Angola (AGO) Southern 34 2.66 0
34 2.66 76.76 99.75 159.32 1 78,484
23 Cameroon (CMR) West-
21 3.42 12 0.38 9 3.04 47.57 61.82 98.74 4 48,642
All countries 200 380.72 104 257.21 55 123.50 1173.18 1524.65 2435.13 282 1,199,570
Countries are ranked from highest to lowest average (median) total available funding among PAs. Minimum required funding was estimated using three
different methods of calculating the minimum funding requirement for effective lion conservation. ISO, International Organization for Standardization; $mil,
million dollars.
*Minimum funding requirement based on each method: African Parks Network, $978/km
; our study, $1,271/km
; and Packer et al. (5), $2,030/km
Represents an underestimation, as South Africa estimates did not include donor data and Chad did not include state data.
Median does not accurately represent the right-skewed distribution of donor funding in Zimbabwe, where 50% of 22 PAs received <$1/km
and 50%
received a median of $272/km
State contributions for the Democratic Republic of the Congo totaled $3,000.
Data were not available, but experts indicated that state budgets were close to $0/km
Lindsey et al. PNAS Latest Articles
of PAs and countries receive a fraction of the funding needed to
conserve lion populations and broader ecosystems effectively. In
some countries (e.g., Zimbabwe), although moderate funding
from the state is available, substantial proportions are tied up for
salaries, leaving modest amounts for operations. Unless action is
taken to increase resources for most PAs in African savannahs,
lions and many other species are likely to suffer continued steep
declines in number and distribution, with serious ecological and
economic ramifications. Countries with some of the largest PA
networks, such as Botswana, Tanzania, and Zambia, experience
some of the largest deficits despite strong political commitments
to conservation. This presents an opportunity for additional
donor support for conservation efforts in these countries, given
the impressive contribution of land for conservation, the diffi-
culty associated with securing such vast areas, and the signifi-
cance of these areas for the conservation of a wide range of
species valued worldwide.
Our results are consistent with prior studies in highlighting the
importance of management budgets for effective conservation of
African wildlife. Inadequate PA funding in part leads to the
wildlife population declines observed in many of Africas PAs
and helps explain the severity of declines in charismatic species
such as rhinos, elephants, and, increasingly, lions (3, 5, 10, 33
35). Our finding that lower funding was associated with greater
threats to wildlife suggests that management funding does not
scale with the degree of threat and that threats are exacerbated
in the absence of adequate funding. Adequate budgets are re-
quired to develop and maintain infrastructure; to purchase and
maintain vehicles and other equipment; and to train, deploy, and
motivate staff (2, 36). In the absence of sufficient funding (and
even with adequate funding in circumstances of weak PA gov-
ernance and management), field staff can become ineffective. In
the worst cases, poorly paid or unmotivated staff can actually
contribute to wildlife declines due to the social and financial
gains that can be derived from engaging in illegal activities such
as poaching (37).
Efforts are drastically needed to raise the management bud-
gets of PAs to $1,000 to 2,000/km
to effectively conserve lions
and their broader ecosystems. The African Parks Network
method ($978/km
) represented the tried-and-true costs of man-
aging stable and increasing lion populations in nine effective PAs
with varying management conditions. African Parks have proven
highly effective in the field and also at fundraising, due in part to
their commitment to financial accountability. The African Parks
Network method may yield the lowest estimates of budget re-
quirements because their budgets are less likely to be affected by
leakages to corruption or inefficiencies than those of some state
wildlife authorities. Channeling an elevated proportion of funding
to PAs through accountable nongovernmental organization
(NGO) partners engaged in collaborative management partner-
ships represents one potential means of reducing loss of donor
funding to corruption (38). Efforts to build the capacity of PA
authorities to manage finances transparently are also important.
Our study method ($1,271/km
) considered a broader spectrum of
management conditions across 115 PAs with lions and identified
the funding threshold that best predicted PAs maintaining lion
populations at 50% of carrying capacity. Packer et al.s(5)
method ($2,030/km
) represented the high-end costs associated
with managing unfenced, free-roaming lion populations. Collec-
tively, these estimates represent a gradient of real-world man-
agement conditions and costs for effectively conserving lions.
Although estimates are higher than prior (and now outdated)
estimates of required funding, such as $174 to 424/km
for forest
parks in Central Africa in 2004 (29) and $459/km
for parks
Africa-wide in 1984 (28), our estimates approximate the $1,010/
estimated need for managing tigers in Asia (39) [all figures in
2015 US dollars (USD)].
We emphasize that the two higher-end estimates ($1,271/km
and $2,030/km
, or $1.2 to $2.4 billion total annually across all
0 5 10 15 20 25 40 80
Total funding ($ million)
Total deficit ($ million)
Median remaining need
> 90%
0% (no deficit)
Total PA area (km2)
0 1000 2000 3000
Median funding ($/km2)
Median deficit ($/km2)
Median remaining need
Fig. 1. The most underfunded countries for lion conservation, in terms of
total available (A) and median available (B) funding and remaining shortfalls
for effective conservation of Africas protected areas (PAs) with lions. Me-
dian remaining need represents the average percentage of funding needed
to meet the estimated required minimum. Minimum required funding and
deficits represent lower-end estimates based on the African Parks Network
method ($978/km
). See Tables 1 and 2 for the number of deficit PAs in each
country, country rankings, and International Organization for Standardiza-
tion country codes.
Fig. 2. Annual funding ($/km
) for 282 African PAs with lions (black circles)
compared with minimum required need as estimated by the African Parks
Network method ($978/km
), our study method ($1,271/km
), and the Packer
et al. (5) method ($2,030/km
). Of the 282 PAs, 249 (88%), 252 (89%), and
266 (94%) failed to meet the minimum benchmarks of the African Parks
Network, our study, and Packer et al. methods, respectively.
| Lindsey et al.
PAs with lions) are the minimum amounts necessary under cur-
rent conditions to manage lion populations at half of the potential
population size. However, 50% of carrying capacity is a low
benchmark for conservation effectiveness, particularly for lions,
which have such great ecological and economic value. In addition,
some of the PAs with lions at 50% of estimated carrying capacity
are suffering ongoing declines (10) such that even larger budgets
may be required to manage stable or growing populations of lions
and their prey and yield long-term security for the species.
Additional Considerations. We caution that our study does not
provide insights into the requirements for the management of
individual PAs, which likely vary significantly with the extent of
threat and the geographic location, habitat type, and degree
of remoteness. Large PAs are likely to benefit from economies
of scale, as certain infrastructure developments are necessary
regardless of the size of an area and because larger areas will be
more insulated from threats than smaller areas. Similarly, costs
are likely to be higher in countries in which corruption causes
funding to be squandered (40). Additionally, in PAs where there
is little or no infrastructure, such as the newly gazetted Luengue-
Luiana and Mavinga national parks in Angola, the required
capital investment would be significantly greater than the oper-
ational costs used in our calculations. If PAs were to receive the
increase in funding that we recommend, all wildlife species
would benefit; with that said, our estimates may not reflect the
additional funding potentially needed to conserve rhinos due to
the high prices obtained by illegal wildlife traders for their horns
and the vigor with which poachers pursue them (4143).
The costs of managing Africas PAs and conserving species
such as lions are likely to grow with time. Pressure on wildlife
due to poaching for body parts for the illegal wildlife trade is
severe, with an increasing range of species being affected (in-
cluding lions), which makes PA management more difficult and
expensive (3, 43). The human population is growing faster in
Africa than in other parts of the world, which will increase
pressure for land and natural resources contained within PAs
(44, 45). Conversely, costs could be reduced by increasing the
Table 2. The most underfunded countries for protected area (PA) management and lion conservation
African Parks Network Our study Packer et al. (5)
Country (ISO
need,* %
PAs with
need,* %
PAs with
need,* %
PAs with
1 Central African
Republic (CAF)
957 98 100 1,250 98 75 2,009 99 100
2 Angola (AGO) 944 97 100 1,237 97 100 1,996 98 100
3 Niger (NER) 935 96 100 1,228 97 100 1,987 98 100
4 South Sudan
933 95 100 1,226 96 100 1,985 98 100
5 Senegal (SEN) 931 95 100 1,224 96 100 1,983 98 100
6 Ethiopia (ETH) 915 94 94 1,208 95 94 1,967 97 100
7 Nigeria (NGA) 875 89 100 1,168 92 100 1,927 95 100
8 Zambia (ZMB) 862 88 100 1,155 91 100 1,914 94 100
9 Democratic
of the Congo
862 88 100 1,155 91 100 1,914 94 100
10 Cameroon
850 87 75 1,143 90 100 1,902 94 100
11 Mozambique
843 86 86 1,136 89 90 1,895 93 95
12 Namibia (NAM) 812 83 100 1,105 87 100 1,864 92 100
13 Tanzania (TAZ) 802 82 92 1,095 86 95 1,854 91 95
14 Botswana
778 80 100 1,071 84 100 1,830 90 100
15 Zimbabwe
737 75 100 1,030 81 100 1,789 88 100
16 Burkina Faso
608 62 100 901 71 100 1,660 82 100
17 Uganda (UGA) 560 57 89 853 67 89 1,612 79 89
18 Benin (BEN) 421 43 100 714 56 100 1,473 73 100
19 Malawi (MWI) 352 29 50 581 46 75 1,340 66 75
20 Chad (TCD) 225 23 100 518 41 100 1,277 63 100
21 South Africa
0 0 22 0 0 22 0 0 22
22 Kenya (KEN) 0 0 30 0 0 30 343 17 85
No deficit Rwanda (RWA) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
All countries 778 80 93 1,071 84 94 1,830 90 95
Countries are ranked from highest to lowest median deficit among PAs with lions, as estimated by the African Parks Network method, the approach with
the lowest minimum funding requirement ($978/km
). More detail on PA deficits in countries that contain very few PAs with deficits (e.g., Kenya and South Africa) can
be found in SI Appendix,TableS4, which shows median deficits by country calculated using only PAs with deficits. ISO, International Organization for Standardization.
*Median percent of unmet minimum required funding relative to total available funding by PA.
See Table 1 for total number of PAs with lions in each country.
Lindsey et al. PNAS Latest Articles
involvement of neighboring communities in PA management and
decision making, thereby increasing their engagement and sense
of ownership (12, 16, 46).
Funding Protected Areas for Africas Future. Greater investment in
Africas PAs is urgently needed, and is likely to yield significant
social, economic, and ecological benefits. PAs provide essential
ecosystem services via the provisioning of clean water and other
natural resources (1315), which can reduce poverty, promote
human health, and improve the well-being of rural communities
(47, 48). Wildlife-based tourism in PAs has significant potential
to act as a vehicle for sustainable economic development and job
creation in many African countries, particularly in rural areas
with few alternatives (7). The tourism industry already generates
$34 billion of revenue in Sub-Saharan Africa and creates nearly
6 million jobs (49, 50). Lions represent a key aspect of this
success and are one of the most popular attractions to visitors of
Africas PAs (51). Tourism revenue represents a crucial means
for African countries to diversify economies and reduce reliance
on finite resources such as minerals, and on agriculture and
livestock, which are vulnerable to climate change (52). The po-
tential social and economic benefits associated with functioning
PA networks build a strong case for the investment of general
development aid funding to augment the traditional conservation-
focused funding in PA management. An allocation of just 2% of
the $51 billion allocated to development in Africa would likely
cover the deficits facing PAs from a lion-conservation perspective
(53). Such investments to PAs should be normalized as part of the
international development financial portfolio to support maturing
tourism economies and protect the environmental services pro-
vided by PAs to peoples health and general well-being. These
benefits would increase if care were taken to maximize the extent
to which benefits from tourism and PAs accrue to communities.
Potential approaches include providing communities with part or
complete ownership of concessions within PAs and, when
funding permits, the use of performance payments (54, 55),
taking care to avoid elite capture. Similarly, developed countries
could consider debt-for-nature schemes, in which debt allevia-
tion is provided in return for PA investment by the host nation
(56). Creative donor investment could assist many African
countries to optimize the commercial viability of their PAs, es-
pecially in PAs with high deficits (Fig. 1) and for which state
funding is in short supply (Fig. 4).
Over recent years, increasing effort has promoted community-
based conservation areas outside of PAs, which are essential for
maintaining landscape connectivity and intact ranges of far-
roaming species such as lions. However, while such investments
are essential, we urge the conservation and donor community to
ensure that sufficient focus is given to the management and
protection of PAs to maintain the backbone of conserved
landscapes. PAs should not be assumed to be adequately pro-
tected by virtue of their legal status. In addition to funding
needs, improving the effectiveness with which existing funds are
used is also essential. This means avoiding corruption and
seeking options to provide long-term, drip-feed funding for
A B CAfrican Parks method
No data / No lions
Lion range
Our study method Packer et al. method
Median remaining need
≥ 90% remaining need unfunded
76 - 90% remaining need unfunded
1 - 75% remaining need unfunded
0% (minimum need funded)
Fig. 3. Average funding shortfalls for lion conservation in PAs in 23 of 27 lion-range countries. Median remaining need represents the average (median)
funding shortfall in PAs, calculated by comparing available funding for PA management to the required funding to effectively conserve lions. Minimum
funding requirements were based on three estimation methods: (A) African Parks Network ($978/km
per year), (B) our study method ($1,271/km
), and (C)
Packer et al. (5) method ($2,030/km
). We note that 0% (minimum need funded)does not imply that all PAs for that country are adequately funded, as PA
budgets vary significantly within countries. For example, despite Kenya achieving median funding need, at least 40% of PAs in that country are not suffi-
ciently funded. All assessed countries, except Rwanda, showed at least one PA with deficit. See Table 2 and SI Appendix, Table S4 for more details on median
deficit and the number of PAs with funding shortfalls in each country.
Fig. 4. Proportion of state versus donor contributions to management
funding in 272 of Africas PAs with lions. Data excludes South Africa and
Chad, for which data were not available on donor and state contributions,
| Lindsey et al.
PAs, rather than the large, nonrecurrent funding packages
commonly provided by multilateral funding agencies (11). To
this end, collaborative management partnerships between
NGOs and state wildlife authorities (such as those practiced by
African Parks) are of potentially high value and should be a
funding priority (38).
PAs in Africa are facing a funding shortfall of at least $0.9 billion
and up to $2.1 billion for effective conservation of lions. Without
significant increases in the amount of funding, PAs will not be
able to fulfill the ecological, economic, or social objectives for
which they were established. The current budget deficit facing
Africas PAs is surmountable but currently represents a great risk
that lions and many other wildlife species will continue to decline
in number and ultimately disappear from the majority of PAs in
lion range (10). Such losses would mean that many African
countries would lose their most iconic wildlife species before
benefitting significantly from them.
Our methods comprised four main steps. First, we compiled a database of
available funding in PAs with lions, which to our knowledge represents the
most comprehensive and up-to-date database of its kind. Second, we ap-
plied three methods to estimate different thresholds of minimum funding
required for effective conservation of lions. Third, we used required funding
estimates to calculate deficits in PAs for which available funding did not
meet need. Fourth, we addressed the patterns and importance of funding
for conservation by examining associations between funding and PA char-
acteristics and management resources.
Available Funding. We gathered data on the total funding available for
management of PAs. Our study focused on state-owned PAs containing lions
and located within lion range in Africa (SI Appendix, Appendix 1). Total
funding comprised state funding (contributed by the PA country govern-
ment) and donor funding (contributed by nonstate groups, including non-
profit organizations, charitable foundations, and bi- and multilateral
agencies). Management funding included costs related to staff, law en-
forcement, maintenance of infrastructure and roads, habitat management,
and engagement with adjacent communities. Sources (see SI Appendix,
Appendix 2 for details) broadly included (i) expert surveys (see ref. 3 for
methods), (ii) wildlife authorities, (iii) 50 nonprofit organizations involved in
PA management, (iv) private hunting companies, and (v) major donors in-
volved in PA management, such as foundations, nonprofit organizations,
and multilateral government agencies. We obtained both state and donor
funding data from 282 state-owned PAs with lions in 23 countries, except for
Chad, for which we were not able to obtain state data, and South Africa, for
which we could not comprehensively capture donor contributions [however,
state budgets for PAs in South Africa are substantially higher than in other
countries and sufficient for effective lion management (3)]. We emphasize
the major challenges associated with obtaining budget data and that our
estimates of donor support are likely underestimates (SI Appendix, Appen-
dix 3). Nonetheless, we are confident that our estimates are of the correct
order of magnitude and constitute the most up-to-date and accurate
data available.
From each source, we gathered information on the PA and the years over
which funding was spent, tracking whether funds were channeled to other
organizations to avoid double counting resources. We primarily obtained
budget data for the fiscal year spanning 2015 to 2016, but in rare cases in
which data were not otherwise available, we included data from several years
before (no earlier than 2009) or after (2017). All financial data (and numbers
reported in this paper) were converted to USD at the average exchange rate
from the year of origin (57) and scaled to USD in 2015 to account for inflation
(58). To comply with requests for anonymity from our informants and reduce
the vulnerability of poorly funded PAs (exposure to funding levels could make
them a target for threats such as poaching), we report results on individual PA
data without mentioning PAs by name and present aggregated PA data at the
country level. However, upon request, we will provide data to researchers or
conservationists who demonstrate constructive ideas for further analysis. We
calculated PA average funding (including funding requirements and deficits)
using medians to prevent misrepresentation due to a minority of highly funded
PAs. All statistical analyses were done using R (59).
Minimum Funding Requirements and Deficits. We applied three methods to
consider a range of cost estimates of the minimum funding required for
effective lion conservation:
i) African Parks Network method: We acquired data on management bud-
gets for each PA managed by the African Parks Network, a nonprofit
organization delegated management responsibility by state wildlife au-
thorities for nine PAs as of 2015. Since both lions and prey species were
stable or increasing in all nine PAs (3), we assumed that the levels of
management investment were adequate for effective lion conservation.
We calculated the minimum funding requirement as the amount that
African Parks Network spent in 2015 on capital investments plus operat-
ing costs associated with management in each of their PAs. Capital in-
vestments included buildings, roads, airstrips, fencing, vehicles, aircraft,
office equipment, furniture, tools, radio communications equipment,
and other fixed assets.
ii) Our study method: We used logistic regression to determine the mini-
mum funding level that best predicted PA effectiveness for 115 PAs for
which we had funding and lion population data. We defined effective
PAs as PAs where lions occurred at 50% of estimated carrying capacity
(3). Lion biomass is strongly correlated with prey biomass (60), which in
turn, is dictated primarily by rainfall and soil (6163). We estimated the
potential carrying capacity for lions in each PA based on the following
equation (64):
liondensity#=100km2=0.0109 *½ungulatebiomass0.8783 ,
where ungulate biomass was estimated based on local rainfall (calculated by
cold cloud duration) and soil characteristics (cation exchange capacity). We
acquireddata on potential carrying capacity for lions at each PA (64)and paired
these with data on lion population estimates from ref. 3. Using effectiveness as
a predictor variable and total funding [USD per square kilometer ($/km
)] as a
required response variable from a pool of 35 candidate variables (SI Appendix,
Table S1), we built a multivariate model to predict PA effectiveness. We then
identified the funding threshold that best discriminated effective from
noneffective PAs (see SI Appendix, Appendix 4 for details).
i) Packer et al. (5) method: We applied Packer et al.s finding based on 22
PAs that $2,000/km
of operational costs is required to maintain lions in
unfenced PA at 50% carrying capacity, representing the high-end costs
of managing free-roaming lions. Expert surveys indicated that most of
the PAs in our dataset were unfenced (72%). We adjusted Packer et al.s
estimate to USD in the year 2015.
Using these estimates of required funding, we calculated funding needs
and deficits (in USD) for each PA and then aggregated PAs by country. PA
10 100 1000 15000
Management capacity
10 100 1000 15000
Protected area funding ($/km
Vehicles per 1000 km
10 100 1000 15000
Threat to wildlife
10 100 1000 15000
Staff per 1000 km
vs. vs.
vs. vs.
Protected area funding ($/km
)Protected area funding ($/km
Protected area funding ($/km
Fig. 5. Associations between funding in 125 of Africas PAs with lions and
management capacity (A), threats to wildlife (B), vehicles available for pa-
trols (C), and number of staff (D). The 125 PAs are a subset of the 282 state-
owned PAs for which both funding and the relevant data were available.
Lines indicate the directionality of Pearson correlations.
Lindsey et al. PNAS Latest Articles
funding need was calculated as the minimum funding requirement ($/km
multiplied by PA area (km
). PA funding deficit was calculated as the
funding need minus available funding (positive deficits indicate greater
need than available funding, and deficits were minimized at $0, since our
approach aimed to assess baseline funding adequacy). PA funding deficit per
area ($/km
) was calculated as PA deficit divided by PA area. Country totals
for funding need and deficit were calculated by summing PA need and
deficit, respectively, for PAs in each country. When calculating budget def-
icits on a national and continental level, budget surpluses that occurred in a
minority of PAs were not carried over to other PAs to reduce overall esti-
mated deficit, but were treated as zero deficit, reflecting the fact that such
surpluses are generally not transferred to other PAs.
PA Characteristics. We used a linear regression framework to assess what PA
characteristics were associated with higher total, state, and donor funding
(see SI Appendix, Appendix 4 for details). For this analysis, we used a subset
of 128 PAs for which we had expert information from surveys. We assessed
36 variables (derived from a range of sources, including published papers,
publicly available datasets, and expert surveys) relating to governance, so-
cioeconomic, management, and ecological characteristics for each PA (SI
Appendix, Table S9).
Management Factors. Expert surveys also collected information on how
funding was associated with management resources and threats to wildlife.
Experts were asked to provide information (see ref. 3 for details) on (i)the
number of vehicles and rangers available for management; (ii ) a rating of
different aspects of management capacity on a scale of 1 to 5, which we
summed to generate an overall management capacity score; and (iii )a
rating of the severity of 11 specific threats to wildlife on a scale of 1 to 5,
which we summed to generate an overall threat to wildlife score. We cal-
culated Pearson correlations to examine relationships among total funding,
management resources (vehicles and staff), management capacity, and
threats to wildlife. As normality is a critical assumption in correlation anal-
ysis, total funding, vehicle, and staff data were log-transformed to address
the right skew in the data.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. We thank the staff at the state wildlife agencies and
nonprofit and donor organizations who generously provided information.
We thank Elizabeth Schultz, Timothy Hodgetts, Richard Davies, Craig Packer,
Kelsey Farson, Justin Brashares, and members of the Brashares laboratory
at University of California, Berkeley for providing feedback that improved
the manuscript. Panthera provided funding to support the study. J.R.B.M.
was supported in part by National Science Foundation Coupled Human
and Natural Systems Grant 115057. L.C. was funded by the US Agency for
International Development.
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... These challenges are amplified by insecurity and inaccessibility across large areas of northern Kenya, coupled with the vast areas of carnivore distribution that fall outside protected areas, where carnivores are more likely to be persecuted since they present a threat to livestock and human life Ripple et al., 2014). While the expansion of government protected areas is unlikely due to costs (Lindsey et al., 2018) and social implications, Kenya does have a growing conservancy network, with the amount of land set aside for conservancies doubling in the last two decades (KWCA, 2016). While our study highlights the importance of conservancies to large carnivore conservation, this still only covers a relatively small proportion of their distributions. ...
... This could provide a false sense of conservation security as the majority of lion range is considered protected but the reality might be quite different. In addition, under this scenario it would make strategic sense to focus conservation initiatives within those wildlife areas as this would benefit lions across most of their range(Lindsey et al., 2018). However, according to our occupancy-based distribution maps, this strategy would only protect 24% of Kenya's lion range.As we did not sample the entire country, our distribution maps rely on predictions of occupancy based on species-covariate relationships. ...
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Aim Species‐specific conservation strategies are frequently formulated based on species distribution maps, which are challenging to produce, especially at large spatial scales. Our aim was to use a novel empirical approach to predict the national distribution for all six large carnivore species found in Kenya to guide conservation and management decisions by identifying knowledge and conservation gaps. Location Kenya. Methods We collected data on carnivore presence and absence through questionnaire and sightings‐based surveys and analysed the combined data set using single‐season false‐positive occupancy models, which account for imperfect detections and false positives. To predict potential distributions and inform conservation strategies, we used the occupancy outputs to make predictions for unsampled areas and create occupancy‐based distribution maps where ψ > 0.50, to (1) quantify differences with IUCN Red List range maps, (2) quantify overlap with wildlife areas and (3) identify areas of high carnivore richness. Results Large carnivore occupancy was associated with land conversion, habitat and prey availability. Our results suggest that all six species are widely distributed across Kenya and reveal substantial differences to distribution maps compiled by the IUCN Red List. More specifically, our occupancy‐based distribution maps predict much larger distribution for African wild dog (5.09X), lion (4.77X) and leopard (1.46X), similar distribution for cheetah, and smaller distribution for spotted hyaena (0.84X) and striped hyaena (0.65X). For all large carnivores, the vast majority (~80%) of their predicted distribution falls outside wildlife areas and northern Kenya is predicted to have the highest large carnivore richness. Main conclusions Our results are encouraging as large carnivores may be widely distributed across Kenya, in some cases potentially more so than previously acknowledged. However, much of this range lies outside wildlife areas and represent areas of concern both for conservation and human livelihoods illustrating the challenges of conserving large carnivores across their range.
... McCarthy et al. (2012) estimated it would cost US$76 billion annually to conserve the global terrestrial species. Lindsey et al. (2018) estimated an additional $US 0.9-2.1 billion annually to protect Africa's protected areas containing lions. Bernstein et al. (2022) derived estimates of the operating costs of parks and estimated it would cost $US 10.2 billion annually to protect Africa's biodiversity in 1812 national parks that cover 3.1 million km 2 . ...
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Many of the world’s most biodiverse regions are found in the poorest and second most populous continent of Africa; a continent facing exceptional challenges. Africa is projected to quadruple its population by 2100 and experience increasingly severe climate change and environmental conflict—all of which will ravage biodiversity. Here we assess conservation threats facing Africa and consider how these threats will be affected by human population growth, economic expansion, and climate change. We then evaluate the current capacity and infrastructure available to conserve the continent’s biodiversity. We consider four key questions essential for the future of African conservation: (1) how to build societal support for conservation efforts within Africa; (2) how to build Africa’s education, research, and management capacity; (3) how to finance conservation efforts; and (4) is conservation through development the appropriate approach for Africa? While the challenges are great, ways forward are clear, and we present ideas on how progress can be made. Given Africa’s current modest capacity to address its biodiversity crisis, additional international funding is required, but estimates of the cost of conserving Africa’s biodiversity are within reach. The will to act must build on the sympathy for conservation that is evident in Africa, but this will require building the education capacity within the continent. Considering Africa’s rapidly growing population and the associated huge economic needs, options other than conservation through development need to be more effectively explored. Despite the gravity of the situation, we believe that concerted effort in the coming decades can successfully curb the loss of biodiversity in Africa.
... Furthermore, we also found that the economy is positively linked to biodiversity (measured as species protection index). Several authors have demonstrated the biodiversityeconomy nexus [82][83][84]. Economic growth may promote species protection by making the resources necessary for biodiversity conservation available. Conversely, it can also hamper species protection by threatening the establishment and maintenance of protected areas [85]. ...
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The ongoing exponential growth of human population poses a risk to sustainable development goals (SDGs). Unless we understand the drivers of this growth and inform policy development accordingly, SDGs would remain a dream. One of the old theories of population growth known as the Malthusian theory predicts that resource availability drives population growth until a certain time when population growth outrun resource availability, leading to all sort of crises summarized as Malthusian crisis. Although the link between economic growth and population has been widely investigated while testing the theory, little is known about environmental and social factors potentially driving population growth. Here, because of various crises of our time recalling the Malthusian crisis, we revisited the theory by fitting structural equation models to environmental, social and economic data collected over 30-year period in South Africa. None of the social variables tested predicts population growth. Instead, we found that biodiversity (species protection index) correlates positively with population growth. Biodiversity provides various resources through ecosystem goods and services to human, thus supporting population growth as predicted in the Malthusian theory. However, we also found that this population growth may lead to conservation conflict as we found that biodiversity habitat (wetland area) correlates negatively with population growth, thus raising the compromising effect of population growth on life on earth. What’s more, we found a significant link between economic growth measured as GDP and population growth, further supporting the Malthusian prediction. Overall, our study re-affirms the value of biodiversity to human and suggests that the Malthusian theory should continuously be tested with predictors other than economic.
... Given the pressures faced by protected areas both locally and globally, there is a need to unlock their value much more effectively, which costs money. It is estimated that more than US$1 billion per annum is required to maintain the effectiveness of protected areas in Africa (Lindsey et al. 2018). Thus, it is essential to estimate the economic value of protected areas ecosystem services to facilitate the sustainable development of the economy, as well as its transition onto a nature-smart trajectory (Soe Zin et al. 2019). ...
Technical Report
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This report addresses two questions: Why, despite high growth, have structural transformation and rural-urban exodus been limited? How can Ethiopia achieve more sustainable and resilient growth? Part I discusses how—despite a significant wage differential between urban and rural areas—low education levels, sociocultural barriers, and administrative barriers have limited the extent of internal migration, possibly making growth less inclusive. Part II focuses on how to boost competitiveness in the Ethiopian economy, including by overcoming the declines in productivity and exports observed over the past decade. Part III looks into sustainability challenges, including recurrent high inflation (with a focus on food prices) and natural capital degradation. Each of the six chapters of the report is motivated by a challenge: a trend that went “off-track” over the past decade. The report presents short- and medium-term policy options aimed at addressing the challenges identified.
... The European Union Natura 2000 network of protected areas, for example, requires a total investment of €5.8 billion per year for its maintenance and ecological improvement (Kettunen et al., 2014), but the EU's advance budgetary allocation between 2007 and 2013 was only €0.6-1.2 billion per year (Kettunen et al., 2011). Likewise, lion conservation in protected areas in Africa receives US$0.4 billion annually despite indicating a need for US$1.2-2.4 billion (Lindsey et al., 2018), while the Brazilian protected areas had a funding deficit of nearly US$360 million for their management costs in 2016 (Silva et al., 2021). Notwithstanding the estimate variation or the scale of governance, the central argument remains the same: finance needs upscaling to address the funding gap. ...
Over fifty years of global conservation has failed to bend the curve of biodiversity loss, so we need to transform the ways we govern biodiversity. The UN Convention on Biological Diversity aims to develop and implement a transformative framework for the coming decades. However, the question of what transformative biodiversity governance entails and how it can be implemented is complex. This book argues that transformative biodiversity governance means prioritizing ecocentric, compassionate and just sustainable development. This involves implementing five governance approaches - integrative, inclusive, adaptive, transdisciplinary and anticipatory governance - in conjunction and focused on the underlying causes of biodiversity loss and unsustainability. Transforming Biodiversity Governance is an invaluable source for academics, policy makers and practitioners working in biodiversity and sustainability governance. This is one of a series of publications associated with the Earth System Governance Project. For more publications, see This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
... Conserving most of the Brazilian Amazon per hectare is cost-effective. For instance, the estimated costs are 2.5 times less expensive than safeguarding 1.2 million km 2 of protected areas important for lion conservation in Africa (Lindsey et al., 2018) and 6.8 times less costly than maintaining 1 million km 2 of conservation areas within the boundaries of the European Union (Gantioler et al., 2014). ...
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The protection of the Brazilian Amazon is essential to prevent the collapse of global biodiversity and minimize the negative impacts of climate change worldwide. However, there is currently no estimate of how much it costs to conserve most of this region. We report that maintaining ∼80% (3.5 million km²) of the region within conservation areas (conservation units and indigenous lands) would minimally cost around USD 1.7–2.8 billion a year in recurrent management and system-wide costs, plus an upfront investment of USD 1.0-1.6 billion for establishment costs. Building a sustainable and definitive conservation system to maintain the socioecological integrity of the world's most biodiverse region is still possible, but the window of opportunity to achieve one of the most significant conservation accomplishments in the history of humanity can be closed soon and – given the declining resilience of the region’s ecosystems – forever.
Over fifty years of global conservation has failed to bend the curve of biodiversity loss, so we need to transform the ways we govern biodiversity. The UN Convention on Biological Diversity aims to develop and implement a transformative framework for the coming decades. However, the question of what transformative biodiversity governance entails and how it can be implemented is complex. This book argues that transformative biodiversity governance means prioritizing ecocentric, compassionate and just sustainable development. This involves implementing five governance approaches – integrative, inclusive, adaptive, transdisciplinary and anticipatory governance – in conjunction and focused on the underlying causes of biodiversity loss and unsustainability. Transforming Biodiversity Governance is an invaluable source for academics, policy makers and practitioners working in biodiversity and sustainability governance. This is one of a series of publications associated with the Earth System Governance Project. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core. INGRID J. VISSEREN-HAMAKERS serves as Professor and Chair of the Environmental Governance and Politics (EGP) group at Radboud University, Netherlands, and specializes in transformative global environmental governance. She aims to contribute to both academic and societal debates on how societies and economies can become sustainable. Her research focuses on governing the relationships between animal interests, biodiversity and food, among others. MARCEL T. J. KOK is Programme Leader of the International Biodiversity Policy group at PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. His research concentrates on global environmental governance and scenario analysis of global environmental problems, with a focus on biodiversity. He specializes in bottom-up governance approaches.<br/
As landscape‐scale conservation models grow in prominence, assessments of how wildlife utilise multiple‐use landscapes are required to inform effective conservation and management planning. Such efforts should incorporate multi‐species perspectives to maximise value for conservation, and should account for scale to accurately capture species‐environment relationships. We show that the random forest machine learning algorithm can be used to model large‐scale sign‐based data in a multi‐scale framework. We used this method to investigate scale‐dependent habitat associations for 16 mammal species of high conservation importance across the southern Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area in Botswana and Zimbabwe. Our findings revealed substantial variation in factors shaping habitat use across species, and illustrate that different species often have divergent responses to the same environmental and anthropogenic factors, and differ in the scales at which they respond to them. For all variables across all species, scale optimisation most often selected our largest scale. Precipitation, soil nutrients, and vegetation appeared to be the most important factors determining mammal distributions, likely through their associations with food resources for herbivores and, in turn, prey availability for carnivores. Anthropogenic pressures also had an important influence, with many species selecting against areas with high cattle density. The variety of relationships with human density indicated that species vary in their tolerance of humans. We found a consistent positive relationship with areas under high protection, and negative relationship with unprotected and less‐strictly protected areas. Policy implications: Through a novel application of random forest modelling to spoor data from 16 mammal species, this study highlights the importance of adopting a multi‐scale, multi‐species approach for decision‐making processes that depend on understanding wildlife distributions and habitat associations, such as protected area and corridor prioritisation. The findings identify changing rainfall patterns and increasing livestock numbers as emerging trends that may impact wildlife distributions, both within sub‐Saharan Africa and on a global scale. Wildlife management authorities should use modelling exercises and adaptive management to ensure protected area networks remain fit for purpose under anticipated changes in rainfall under climate change, and explore initiatives that promote coexistence of wildlife and livestock.
Large carnivores increasingly inhabit human-impacted landscapes, which exhibit heterogeneity in biotic resources, anthropogenic pressures, and management strategies. Understanding large carnivore habitat use in these modern systems is critical for their conservation, as is the evaluation of competing management approaches and the impacts of significant land use changes. We employed occupancy modelling to investigate habitat use of an intact eastern African large carnivore guild across the 45,000 km2 Ruaha-Rungwa landscape, in south-central Tanzania. We determined the relative impact of biotic, anthropogenic, and management factors on five large carnivore species, at two biologically meaningful scales. We also specifically tested the effect of a novel trend of trophy hunting area abandonment on large carnivore occurrence. Our results reveal contrasting habitat use patterns: lion were found to be particularly vulnerable to illegal human activity, while African wild dog were instead limited by biotic features, avoiding areas of high sympatric predator density and using less-productive habitats. Spotted hyaena and leopard were able to persist in more disturbed areas, and across habitat types. There was no evidence of large carnivore occurrence being impacted by whether an area was used for photographic or trophy hunting tourism, with regular law enforcement being instead more important. All species fared better in actively managed hunting areas compared to those that had been abandoned by operators. Overall, our findings highlight the divergent habitat requirements within large carnivore guilds, and the importance of adopting an integrated approach to large carnivore conservation planning in modern systems. We also identified a novel threat to African conservation areas, in the form of decreased management investments associated with the abandonment of trophy hunting areas, and provide the first assessment of this significant land management change on a large carnivore population. Article impact statement: Habitat degradation associated with ongoing hunting area abandonment is shown to be a novel threat to large African carnivore populations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Promoting human-wildlife coexistence is one of the most complex and pressing global conservation challenges faced today, particularly for large carnivore species. Effective conservation of large carnivores rests on interventions fostering coexistence in human-dominated landscapes, across the large ranges on which they depend. However, there is a paucity of research evaluating such interventions, and impact on the social determinants of behavioural outcomes. To bridge this evidence gap, we evaluate the impact of Warrior Watch, a grassroots intervention established in 2010 that draws on the traditional social structures and roles of Samburu pastoralists in northern Kenya to mitigate human-lion conflict peacefully. Using a novel approach blending elements of theory-based methods and traditional impact evaluations, and tailored to local resources and capacities, we evaluate the impact of Warrior Watch on a) attitudes towards lions and b) killing intentions as a proxy for tolerance. We show that warriors in the intervention site reported significantly more positive attitudes towards lions and were significantly less likely to indicate intentions to kill lions than their counterparts in the comparison conservancy. Furthermore, respondents in the intervention site were significantly more likely to report positive changes in their attitudes and tolerance towards lions since the inception of Warrior Watch, and to attribute these changes to the intervention. Our study demonstrates how evaluations tailored to local capacities and resource-limited situations can produce robust insights to support the adaptive management of interventions and increase the evidence-base to guide conservation practice.
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Protecting important sites is a key strategy for halting the loss of biodiversity. However, our understanding of the relationship between management inputs and biodiversity outcomes in protected areas (PAs) remains weak. Here, we examine biodiversity outcomes using species population trends in PAs derived from the Living Planet Database in relation to management data derived from the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) database for 217 population time-series from 73 PAs. We found a positive relationship between our METT-based scores for Capacity and Resources and changes in vertebrate abundance, consistent with the hypothesis that PAs require adequate resourcing to halt biodiversity loss. Additionally, PA age was negatively correlated with trends for the mammal subsets and PA size negatively correlated with population trends in the global subset. Our study highlights the paucity of appropriate data for rigorous testing of the role of management in maintaining species populations across multiple sites, and describes ways to improve our understanding of PA performance.
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The African lion is in decline across its range, and consumptive utilisation and trade of their body parts and skins has been postulated as a cause for concern. We undertook a pan-African questionnaire and literature survey to document informed opinion and evidence for the occurrence of domestic and international trade and consumption in African lion body parts across current and former range states. Sixty-five people from 18 countries participated in the online questionnaire survey (run from July 2014 to May 2015), with information provided for 28 countries (including 20 out of 24 countries believed to have extant populations). Respondents were experts within their professional spheres, and 77% had ≥6 years relevant experience within lion conservation or allied wildlife matters. Their opinions revealed wide sub-regional differences in consumptive use, drivers of trade, and access to lions that impact wild lion populations in different ways. Traditional medicine practices (African and Asian) were perceived to be the main uses to which lion body parts and bones are put domestically and traded internationally, and there is reason for concern about persistent imports from former lion range states (mainly in West Africa) for parts for this purpose. The domestic, rather than international, trade in lion body parts was perceived to be a bigger threat to wild lion populations. Parts such as skin, claws, teeth and bones are thought to be in most demand across the continent. The impact of international trade on wild populations was acknowledged to be largely unknown, but occasionally was judged to be ‘high’, and therefore vigilance is needed to monitor emerging detrimental impacts. Seventeen countries were nominated as priorities for immediate monitoring, including: South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Cameroon. Reasons for their selection include: prevalence of trophy hunting, ‘hot spots’ for poaching, active domestic trade in lion body parts, trade in curios for the tourist market, and histories of legal-illegal wildlife trade. This survey, and increased incident reports since mid-2015 of lion poisoning and poaching in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa, and sporadic poaching events in Uganda and Tanzania, are signalling an escalating trend in the trade of lion products that is an increasing threat to some national populations. The evidence is sufficient to make more detailed investigation of this trade a conservation priority.
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International agreements mandate the expansion of Earth’s protected-area network as a bulwark against the continued extinction of wild populations, species, and ecosystems. Yet many protected areas are underfunded, poorly managed, and ecologically damaged; the conundrum is how to increase their coverage and effectiveness simultaneously. Innova- tive restoration and rewilding programmes in Costa Rica’s Área de Conservación Guanacaste and Mozambique’s Parque Nacional da Gorongosa highlight how degraded ecosystems can be rehabilitated, expanded, and woven into the cultural fabric of human societies. Worldwide, enormous potential for biodiversity conservation can be realized by upgrading existing nature reserves while harmonizing them with the needs and aspirations of their constituencies.
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Surprisingly little attention has been paid to variation among countries in contributions to conservation. As a first step, we developed a Megafauna Conservation Index (MCI) that assesses the spatial, ecological and financial contributions of 152 nations towards conservation of the world’s terrestrial megafauna. We chose megafauna because they are particularly valuable in economic, ecological and societal terms, and are challenging and expensive to conserve. We categorised these 152 countries as being above- or below-average performers based on whether their contribution to megafauna conservation was higher or lower than the global mean; ‘major’ performers or underperformers were those whose contribution exceeded 1 SD over or under the mean, respectively. Ninety percent of countries in North/Central America and 70% of countries in Africa were classified as major or above-average performers, while approximately one-quarter of countries in Asia (25%) and Europe (21%) were identified as major underperformers. We present our index to emphasise the need for measuring conservation performance, to help nations identify how best they could improve their efforts, and to present a starting point for the development of more robust and inclusive measures (noting how the IUCN Red List evolved over time). Our analysis points to three approaches that countries could adopt to improve their contribution to global megafauna conservation, depending on their circumstances: (1) upgrading or expanding their domestic protected area networks, with a particular emphasis on conserving large carnivore and herbivore habitat, (2) increase funding for conservation at home or abroad, or (3) ‘rewilding’ their landscapes. Once revised and perfected, we recommend publishing regular conservation rankings in the popular media to recognise major-performers, foster healthy pride and competition among nations, and identify ways for governments to improve their performance.
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Protected areas and conservation are inadequately funded throughout the world, especially in Africa. In response to this challenge, ‘innovative financial mechanisms’ are meant to make use of markets and contractual arrangements to provide for additional and secured funding. The use of these instruments within nature conservation has increased in recent years. Proponents of these instruments argue that they may soon fill the funding gap. Critics warn that such instruments may favour market priorities, which could undervalue the overall conservation goals. This paper analyses the practical functioning of three cases of innovative financial mechanisms for African protected areas. It draws insights about their potential replication, with respect to their contractual design, their associated impacts and success factors, as well as the challenges encountered. The paper argues that these contractual approaches critically depend on enforcing conditionalities, maintaining long-term relations through intermediary organizations, as well as finding champions and building capacities. Challenges to be assessed in the future include the variability of markets and the significance of transaction costs.
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The lion Panthera leo is Critically Endangered in West Africa and is known to occupy only four protected areas within the region. The largest population persists in the trans-boundary W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) ecosystem, in the border region of Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger. WAP harbors an estimated 350 individuals, or 90% of West Africa’s lions. We modeled lion occupancy across WAP using systematic, vehicle-based spoor counts to assess how landscape variables related to biotic factors, management and human impact influence lion distribution across WAP. We surveyed 1110 km of roads across WAP in 2012, obtaining 79 lion detections in 32 of our 167 15 x 15 km sampling units (naïve occupancy = 0.41). Overall occupancy (Ψ) was 0.71 (95% SE = 0.56-0.83) when accounting for imperfect detection (p = 0.22, 95% SE = 0.18-0.27). The best predictors of lion occupancy were numbers of permanent protected area staff and mean monthly dry season precipitation. Model-averaged estimates suggest greatest lion occupancy in the Arly and Pendjari management blocks, with lowest occupancy in the tri-national W National Park. Our results suggest that lions in WAP are equally limited by management and biotic factors, and demonstrate how unevenly distributed protection effort limits the distribution of an apex predator across a protected landscape. We strongly recommend increased funding and better protection to increase lion occupancy in WAP, most urgently in the W National Park.
Technical Report
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Protected areas remain the cornerstone of conservation strategies and a key tool in sustainable development. Yet in most countries protected areas are vastly under-resourced. Estimates of global shortfalls reach USD 45 billion per year (Balmford et al, 2002). While many alternative funding options are being developed for conservation, protected areas will continue to require a core of public funding in the foreseeable future. Governments in developing countries generally provide a certain proportion of funds to their own protected areas and make up the shortfall from alternative sources: conservation organisations, foundations, multilateral agencies or others. Nonetheless, there remains a core of government support, albeit sometimes relying on money raised by the government from visitors and other fees. In developed countries, governments usually cover a much larger proportion of protected area budgets. While increasingly creative sources of funding are being tapped for protected areas, including debt for nature swaps, trust funds and payments for environmental services, ultimately as a public good protected areas are likely to continue being supported to a certain extent by public funds. Maintaining this core of funding at an acceptable level is essential to ensure that governments can meet their commitments under the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas. This report analyses public funding to protected areas for 50 countries. It shows that: - funding for protected areas is generally on the decrease despite commitments made by donor countries under the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas, - funding is an insignificant proportion of countries’ GDP, out of proportion with the biodiversity, environmental services and cultural values of protected areas and - funding strategies do not pay sufficient attention to either the relative value of biodiversity or to particular country needs for protection. In order to meet their CBD commitments, many countries will need to increase their funding to protected areas by a considerable degree.
Retaining revenue generated by tourism within a local economy is an important issue in tourism development, especially in developing countries where tourism is used as a tool for development. This research aims to quantify the value and proportion of tourism expenditure retained in this destination in order to inform national-level decision-making. It applies a value chain analysis (VCA) approach through semi-structured questionnaires with 117 stakeholders in Kasane, Botswana. The VCA demonstrates that the total gross revenue generation of the tourism industry within Kasane was USD 39.5 million in 2014. Excursions and transport generated nearly half of this revenue (USD 19.2 million; 49%), followed by accommodation and food and beverages, at around USD 10 million each (26%). Of the gross revenue accrued, USD 14.5 million (37%) remained in the local economy (defined by the Botswana Tourism Organisation as a 50 km radius surrounding Kasane) in the form of local goods (production) and services (wages). Recommendations for interventions that could enhance the local retention of revenue from tourism in Kasane are presented.