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Title: Testing the effectiveness of community-based conservation in conserving biodiversity, protecting ecosystem services, and improving human well-being in Madagascar
Author: Andrianandrasana, Herizo
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 4454
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis is a scientific contribution towards evaluating the effectiveness of Community-based Conservation (CBC) in saving biodiversity, protecting ecosystem services and enhancing human well-being. The impact of CBC interventions carried out by Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust over 109 villages in five conservation areas in Madagascar (Lake Alaotra, Baly Bay National Park, Menabe dry forest, Manombo rain forest, and Nosivolo River) since 1997, were retrospectively evaluated. The evaluation used a quasi-experimental design to contrast changes in a set of biodiversity and human wellbeing indicators in the intervention villages with 109 control villages, which were matched for a range of social and environmental attributes. In Chapter 2, findings suggest that over the period 2000-2014 the CBC approach has impacted the incidence of fire, resulting in a lower rate of increase in fire frequency. Although CBC interventions were not able to reduce forest loss, the rate of deforestation in CBC villages has generally been maintained at lower levels than in control villages. Political disruption, population size and travel cost (access and distance) to the villages were identified as important contributing factors towards an increase in the severity of fires and deforestation while access to mobile phones may help mitigate the pressures. In Chapter 3, results indicate that support to education through CBC interventions is significantly associated with improvements in educational attainment. However, analysis of the historical Index of Health Status at village level did not show evidence that provision of clean drinking water or other health interventions improved public health. In terms of human well-being (Chapter 4), there is no evidence that CBC interventions have any positive impact on the Multidimensional Poverty Index. Since poverty has been identified as a key factor reducing happiness, mutual trust, and power to change local decision-making, the claim that CBC will be effective in enhancing subjective well-being cannot be supported by the evidence from this study. According to the Index of Perception of Valued Ecosystem Services the declines in forest cover between 2000 and 2013 were observed by local people, with people in CBC villages demonstrating a greater propensity to note resulting changes in the provision of ecosystem services. This result could be of value when designing future CBC interventions. Maximum Entropy modelling using a set of environmental GIS layers was performed in Chapter 5 for predicting geographic distribution zones of four globally threatened species living exclusively in the five study areas. Results suggested that over the period 2000-2014 there has been a decline in habitat suitability expressed by a decrease in probability of presence of the species. Vegetation cover is predicted to be the most important factor affecting the variability of species distribution range. Potential factors responsible for the success of some actions and failure, others within the CBC approach are discussed and pragmatic recommendations are given at the end of the thesis. For example, transforming local associations into social enterprise could possibly motivate poorer households to join CBC efforts and thereby improve social and biodiversity impacts in the future.
Supervisor: Willis, Kathy ; Long, Peter ; Young, Richard Sponsor: Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust ; Helmsley Trust ; John Ellerman Foundation ; Net Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biodiversity conservation ; Effectiveness evaluation