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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