Protected Area Assessment and Establishment in Vanuatu: a Socioeconomic Approach
The two studies reported in this chapter have both concluded that there are substantial benefits to be enjoyed by Australians as a result of forest conservation initiatives in Vanuatu. The magnitude of these benefits more than eclipses the costs born by the ni-Vanuatu landowners because of foregone extractive use income. From a global perspective, there are clear net benefits to be gained from forest conservation in Vanuatu. To ensure intragenerational equity, it is important for the ni-Vanuatu landowners to be adequately compensated for the costs they incur as a result of conservation. The studies reported here show convincingly that even after the payment of compensation, Australians would be better off with the forest conservation initiatives in place. What remains problematic is the establishment of institutional arrangements that will ensure the availability of funds to pay for compensation. Without these funds, it is likely that landowners facing the situation that arose in the case of the EKPA will choose the income producing, extractive use of their forests. The net gains from conservation to the wider community that have been demonstrated in this chapter will then be lost. The studies reported here should provide evidence to governments, NGOs and the private sector that the potential gains from forest conservation are substantial. This should in turn provide an incentive for action to secure these gains be
it through the provision of aid funds or the establishment of private trusts to finance leases of the type negotiated for the EKPA.
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