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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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slide1
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
100 km

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.

wechiau community hippopotamus sanctuary wchs
Wechiau Community Hippopotamus Sanctuary (WCHS)

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

3 types of benefits in every community based conservation project
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

assess success in 3 dimensions
Assess Success in 3 dimensions

Social

Physical

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

Natural

slide6
Natural Capital

(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?

slide7
Threat Reduction Assessment (TRA)

(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.

slide8
Biodiversity

(> 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.

assessing 3 types of success
Assessing 3 Types of Success

Physical Capital

Social Capital

Questionnaires & workshop

Questionnaires & things we can count.

Natural Capital

Threat Reduction

eight year assessment period
Eight-year Assessment Period

Social

Physical

2007

1999

Natural

Established by decree of Paramount

Chief of Wechiau

Assessment

increased social capital
Preview of the punch line (2 of 3)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

growth in social capital can offset low growth in physical capital
Preview of the punch line (3 of 3)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.
threats
Threats

Riverbank farming, fishing, bushfire, hunting.

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

slide15
The Great 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

slide16
The Good 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

slide17
The Bad 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

assess success in 3 dimensions18
Assess Success in 3 dimensions

Social

Physical

Natural

priorities for physical capital
Priorities for physical capital

Farm productivity & food security

Income – for community, not self

Schools

Safe drinking water

Year-round roads

Grain silo

physical capital i farm income the data in the next slide will show that
Physical capital I: farm & incomeThe 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.

slide22
Economic benefits through tourism:

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

Tourist Lodge

Total

Number of Visitors

Ghanaian

Year

slide23
Physical capital II: Schools

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.

slide24
Physical capital III: Safe water

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.

slide25
Physical capital IV: Roads, lighting

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.

assess success in 3 dimensions26
Assess Success in 3 dimensions

Social

Physical

water, income, roads, schools

farm & food

Natural

social capital rules for successful cbc institutions
Social Capital“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)

slide28
“Homogeneity of stakeholder groups should be high.”

…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.

stakeholder groups should be well established at the start of the enterprise
“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

slide30
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.”

assess success in 3 dimensions31
Assess Success in 3 dimensions

Social

Capital

Physical

Natural

slide32
80% of Lobis and 90% of Walas support continuing WCHS

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.

slide33
WorseSame

Better

WorseSame

Better

WorseSame

Better

Same

Better

Same

Better

Access to water

Year-rnd roads

Income!

No trend!

Relations w/ Wala

All types Capital

wchs has created social capital
WCHS has created 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

growth in social capital can offset low growth in physical capital35
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.
we will not rest
Nature Conservation

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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