Logging or Conservation Concession: Exploring Conservation and Development Outcomes in Dzanga-Sangha, Central African Republic

Abstract
"The Dzanga-Sangha landscape consists of a national park surrounded by production forest. It is subject to an integrated conservation and development project (ICDP). In collaboration with the ICDP personnel, a participatory model was constructed to explore wildlife conservation and industrial logging scenarios for the landscape. Three management options for the landscape's production forest were modelled: (I) 'predatory logging', exploitation by a logging company characterised by a lack of long-term plans for staying in the landscape, (II) sustainable exploitation by a certified logging company, and (III) conservation concession with no commercial timber harvesting. The simulation outcomes indicate the extreme difficulties to achieve progress on either conservation or development scenarios. Both logging scenarios give best outcomes for development of the local population. However, the depletion of bushmeat under the predatory logging scenario negatively impacts the population, especially the BaAka pygmy minority who most strongly depend on hunting for their income. The model suggests that conservation and development outcomes are largely determined by the level of economic activity, both inside and outside the landscape. Large investments in the formal sector in the landscape without any measures for protecting wildlife (Scenario I) leads to some species going nearly extinct, while investments in the formal sector including conservation measures (Scenario II) gives best outcomes for maintaining wildlife populations. The conservation concession at simulated investment levels does not reduce poverty, defined here in terms of monetary income. Neither does it seem capable of maintaining wildlife populations since the landscape is already filled with settlers lacking economic opportunities as alternatives to poaching."
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Keywords
participatory management, conservation
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