Thursday, November 06, 2003

corruption adversely affects conservation efforts

I know this point seems obvious but we all like empirical evidence ... and the Nature magazine story here has some ... and the nugget of the piece ....
Rhinos, elephants and trees are disappearing most quickly in countries with the worst governance scores, such as Sudan and Ethiopia, the team found. Higher-ranked nations, such as South Africa and Botswana, have healthier wildlife populations. For the animals, corruption explained the trends better than any other factor.
And some question the efficacy of conservation efforts like the ban on the sale of ivory ...
Prohibiting legal sales [of ivory and rhino horn] may simply drive up prices and create opportunities for criminals. "It [prohibition] just becomes a means by which elites can gain access to resources," says development researcher Kate Brown of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK.

... Corruption undermines conservation when it pays better, notes Dick Rice, chief economist with Conservation International, based in Washington DC.

Wildlife workers are often badly remunerated, making bribes more attractive.