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Evaluating the impact of community-based conservation on natural, social, and physical capital Paul Beier, Patrick Adjewodah, John Mason. The first 8 years of the Wechiau Community Hippopotamus Sanctuary, Ghana. 100 km. Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary 40 km of Black Volta River.

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Evaluating the impact of community-based conservation on natural, social, and physical capital

Paul Beier, Patrick Adjewodah, John Mason

The first 8 years of the Wechiau Community Hippopotamus Sanctuary, Ghana


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100 km natural, social, and physical capital

Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary

40 km of Black Volta River

Ghana’s only other hippo population (Bui National Park) will be flooded for a hydro project.


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Wechiau Community Hippopotamus Sanctuary (WCHS) natural, social, and physical capital

Established 1999, fully community-owned and community-managed. Not a government park!

45-km2 protected Core Zone

150-km2 Development Zone with 10,200 residents in 17 villages.

Largest and most advanced Community-Based Conservation project in Ghana


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3 Types of Benefits in every Community-Based Conservation project

Physical Capital

Social Capital

Trust

Willingness to work with ‘them’

Pride in stewardship

Active participation of all stakeholders

Food security

Income

Farm productivity

Potable water

Better roads

Schools

Biodiversity & Ecosystem function

Natural Capital


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Assess Success in 3 dimensions project

Social

Physical

In West Africa, a community-based project must increase all three stocks of capital.

Natural


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Natural Capital project

(the conservation goal)

We have > 219 plant species, 230 birds, and 31 mammals.

Except for hippos, we don’t monitor any of them.

So… how do we know if we are increasing natural capital?


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Threat Reduction Assessment (TRA) project

(Salafsky and Margolius 1999)

1. Identify threats.

2. Find a way to index or measure each threat (It’s easier than monitoring 500 species!).

3. Monitor change in Threat Index over time.


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Biodiversity project

(> 500 species)

Threats

(n < 10)

direct interventions

Project

benefits to stakeholders

Threat Reduction Assessment (TRA)

1. Identify threats.

2. Find a way to index or measure each threat.

3. Monitor change in Threat Index over time.

Is TRA better than monitoring?

1. TRA is less expensive – all projects can use TRA.

2. TRA may be a better indicator of impending change.


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Assessing 3 Types of Success project

Physical Capital

Social Capital

Questionnaires & workshop

Questionnaires & things we can count.

Natural Capital

Threat Reduction


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Eight-year Assessment Period project

Social

Physical

2007

1999

Natural

Established by decree of Paramount

Chief of Wechiau

Assessment


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Preview of the punch line (1 of 3) project

Physical

Social

Natural


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Preview of the punch line (2 of 3) project

Increased Social Capital

… has allowed participants to create new stakeholder groups & overcome the initial lack of homogeneity

The WCHS experiment (so far) suggests that social capital does not have to be well-developed at the outset, but can be developed during a CBC project


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Preview of the punch line (3 of 3) project

Growth in social capital can offset low growth in physical capital

The people in WCHS are still poor, but the project has enabled them to

  • Feel pride in themselves, their culture, their landscape, and their stewardship

  • Improve their ability to work with other groups

  • Think of conservation as part of who they are and what they do.


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Threats project

Riverbank farming, fishing, bushfire, hunting.

49 Households & 16 Village Reps scored each threat on a scale of 1-6 in 1999 and 2005.


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The projectGreat News: 3 threats were reduced 100%

9 Threats to Biodiversity (Natural Capital)

No seasonal migrant fishermen since 2000. One new fisherman immigrated and settled in a village since 1999.

30 farms removed from core zone.

No farms in the core zone today.

Riverbank

farming

No hippos have been killed since 1999. Calves are born regularly, but population has not yet increased.

Killing

hippos


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The projectGood News: 4 threats were reduced 54%-69%.

Rangers & farmers agree poaching is rare. About ½ of households still hunt – outside the core zone.

9 Threats to Biodiversity (Natural Capital)

Cutting

poles

Some illegal gathering still occurs, but no longer a major problem. Wood is abundant outside core zone.

Fishing in

hippo

wallows

Fines and confiscation of nets have reduced this practice, but it still occurs occasionally.

Half of households that gathered oysters in the core zone in 1999 stopped doing so by 2002. This prohibition is resented and perceived as unfair by Lobis, who use oysters for traditional funerals & weddings.

Oyster

collecting


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The projectBad News: 2 threats were not reduced

9 Threats to Biodiversity (Natural Capital)

Every year almost all of the core zone burns during the dry season.

Only 10% of farmers illegally graze in wet season.

But during the dry season, 80% of farmers closest to the core zone illegally graze their cattle in core zone. Many have been fined. However, farmers state they have no grazing options in the dry season.

Cattle

grazing


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Assess Success in 3 dimensions project

Social

Physical

Natural


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Priorities for physical capital project

Farm productivity & food security

Income – for community, not self

Schools

Safe drinking water

Year-round roads

Grain silo


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Physical capital I: farm & income projectThe data in the next slide will show that…

Farm income, farm productivity, and food security decreased since WCHS began.

But household income increased, and community income increased even more.



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Economic benefits through tourism: project

15 full-time jobs, plus many part-time guides, cooks, & entertainers

Tourist Lodge

Total

Number of Visitors

Ghanaian

Year


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Physical capital II: Schools project

WCHS built one new school & teacher’s home. It serves 100 children in 3 communities that had no previous access to a school.

WCHS scholarships send 4 students per year to Senior Secondary School.


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Physical capital III: Safe water project

Only 3 of 17 villages in WCHS had water in 1999.

Today all 17 have boreholes. All but 3 of the new boreholes were installed through effort of WCHS.


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Physical capital IV: Roads, lighting project

Only 1 of 17 villages in WCHS had year-round road access in 1999.

In 2007, 6 villages have year-round roads, all due to roads built for WCHS.

WCHS brought solar lighting to every compound in 15 “way-off-the-grid” villages.


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Assess Success in 3 dimensions project

Social

Physical

water, income, roads, schools

farm & food

Natural


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Social Capital project“Rules” for successful CBC institutions

  • Homogeneity of stakeholder groups should be high.

  • Stakeholder groups should be well-established at the start of the enterprise.

    -- Ostrom (1990), Schwartzman & Zimmerman (2005)


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“Homogeneity of stakeholder groups should be high.” project

…but it was low at start of Sanctuary in 1999.

Walas (28%) are the rulers. Their 2 villages are farthest from the core zone.

Lobis (70%) are disempowered, have used Core Zone for 70 years.

Immigrant fishermen (2%), greatest conflict with hippos.


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“Stakeholder groups should be well-established at the start of the enterprise.”

… but they were not!

Fishers & Lobi farmers had no organized interest groups.

Fishers & Lobi had no tradition of political units above extended family & village.

Illiteracy >90% hinders participation in politics.

Lobi village headman


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Social Capital: The less powerful Lobis & fishers agree (75%-94%) that since WCHS was established:

“My community is more willing and able to discuss WCHS with Wala.”

“We listen better to other ideas and stakeholders.”

“Local people have more control over WCHS than outsiders.”

“The Sanctuary Managers & Rangers are becoming more honest and fair.”

“The outside world increasingly respects my culture and landscape.”

“I have more pride in my culture.”

“I have more pride that my community protects nature.”

“I understand more about the global importance of WCHS’ plants and animals.”


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Assess Success in 3 dimensions (75%-94%) that since WCHS was established

Social

Capital

Physical

Natural


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80% of Lobis and 90% of Walas support continuing WCHS (75%-94%) that since WCHS was established

The data in the next slide will show that…

Personal benefits had a trivial impact on support.

Whether or not an individual household felt they had participated or benefited, they favored continuing WCHS as long as they perceived improvements in the 3 capital stocks for WCHS as a whole.


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WorseSame (75%-94%) that since WCHS was established

Better

WorseSame

Better

WorseSame

Better

Same

Better

Same

Better

Access to water

Year-rnd roads

Income!

No trend!

Relations w/ Wala

All types Capital


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WCHS has (75%-94%) that since WCHS was establishedcreated Social Capital.

Through WCHS, people created stakeholder groups & overcame the initial lack of homogeneity

The WCHS experiment (so far) suggests that social capital does not have to be well-developed at the outset, but can be developed during a CBC project


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Growth in social capital can offset low growth in physical capital

The people in WCHS are still poor, but the project has enabled them to

  • Feel pride in themselves, their culture, their landscape, and their stewardship

  • Improve their ability to work with other groups

  • Think of conservation as part of who they are and what they do.


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Nature Conservation capital

Research Centre

We will not rest!

Physical

Social

Food security must improve!

Lobi participation must improve!

Institutions can’t be built in a 3-year INGO project cycle. A 20-year commitment is needed!

Bushfire must be reduced!

Natural


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