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Governance and the loss of biodiversity

Smith, Robert J., Muir, Robert D. J., Walpole, Matthew J., Balmford, Andrew, Leader-Williams, Nigel (2003) Governance and the loss of biodiversity. Nature, 426 . pp. 67-70. ISSN 0028-0836. (doi:10.1038/nature02025) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:209)

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Most of the world's biodiversity occurs within developing countries that require donor support to build their conservation capacity1. Unfortunately, some of these countries experience high levels of political corruption2, which may limit the success of conservation projects by reducing effective funding levels and distorting priorities3. We investigated whether changes in three well surveyed and widespread components of biodiversity were associated with national governance scores and other socio-economic measures. Here we show that governance scores were correlated with changes in total forest cover, but not with changes in natural forest cover. We found strong associations between governance scores and changes in the numbers of African elephants and black rhinoceroses, and these socio-economic factors explained observed patterns better than any others. Finally, we show that countries rich in species and identified as containing priority areas for conservation have lower governance scores than other nations. These results stress the need for conservationists to develop and implement policies that reduce the effects of political corruption and, in this regard, we question the universal applicability of an influential approach to conservation that seeks to ban international trade in endangered species.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1038/nature02025
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Bob Smith
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2007 18:03 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 09:39 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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Smith, Robert J..

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Walpole, Matthew J..

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Leader-Williams, Nigel.

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