This page last updated on 6 March, 2008

The Economics of Land Use in the Mara Area

This is a co-authored Chapter for Serengeti 3 (remember Serengeti 1 and 2? – well here's another one) which looks at the economics of land use in the Mara Area. Indeed, it is a salutatory thought that Narok District (where the Mara reserves are found) demonstrates the highest rates of wildlife decline anywhere in Kenya yet generates more tourism revenues than any other area in Kenya. Wildlife are in decline because land is being developed, and land is being developed because the leases paid for the land by the tourism industry are simply too low. This Chapter also shows how wildlife are being eliminated through the economic process of capturing agricultural rents by land development. Download

How Many Wildebeest Do you Need?

Published last year in World Economics, this paper is based on a talk given to East African Wildlife Society. It addresses the policy and institutional failures behind the catastrophic loss of wildlife in Kenya over the last 30 years. The picture is pretty bleak, with policy and institutional failures on behalf of Government exacerbated by the pernicious influence of extreme animal-rightist NGOs pursuing their hidden agendas at the expense of Kenya’s wildlife. Download

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The Case For Private Sector Investment In Conservation

Presented at the Vth World Park Congress 2003 in Durban, South Africa, this paper looks at the growing involvement of the private sector in conservation throughout Africa. This involvement now ranges from Private-Public-Partnerships, to the transformation of livestock ranches into wildlife ranches, to developing private conservancies and conservation areas. Private Sector involvement is the single ray of hope in the field of conservation in Africa. Download

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An East African Regional Trust Fund for Conservation? What will they think of next?

Published in the Kenyan Civil Service magazine in July 2003, this presents a somewhat visceral response to the outrageous proposals by Richard Leakey (ex Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service) and Harold Wackman (ex regional Director of the World Bank) to set up an East African regional trust fund for conservation. Although at first sight such a fund might appear to be advantageous, on closer inspection it will serve only to entrench further the inefficiencies within the state conservation sectors and make it even less likely that they address the root problems of failed policies and poor management. Download

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Wildlife Losses in Kenya – an analysis of conservation policy

This is pretty turgid stuff but worth delving into. The economics are crap, but here is one good idea – namely how Community Conservation and Development Projects (or whatever one wishes to call these wretched things) lead inevitably to the creation of conservation poverty traps. Download

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The Economics of Wildlife Conservation Policy in Kenya

This is a really good paper – though I say it myself. It looks at the impacts of the changes conservation policy on the profitability to landowners of maintaining wildlife on their land. The economics are really simple, and quite interesting. Read on and enjoy. Download

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Property Rights and the Marginal Wildebeest

This paper discusses two fundamental issues at the heart of the conservation:development dynamic. First, to what extent do Maasai, as traditional users and owners of land, have the right to benefit from the development potential of their land to further their economic, social and political standing, even if by so doing they cause a loss of biodiversity and wildlife. Second, if the Sate alienates their development rights in the name of conservation, then to what extent should the Sate compensate the Maasai for their lost economic opportunities. To the Maasai, conservation as implemented through Government policy is a public bad: they are denied access to resources, their costs of production are significantly increased, and development is slowed down or actively discouraged. A cost:benefit analysis suggests that it is neither supportable nor sustainable to condemn the Maasai to a poverty trap on behalf of conservation, and that it is instead socially profitable for the Kenyan Government to meet in full their opportunity costs of forgone economic benefits. Download

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Reflections from a Mature Student

Back in the mid-90s, and in my mid-50s, I went back to school and took the MSc course in environmental economics at University College, London. This is not something to be undertaken lightly, as I describe here in a short article in New Scentist. The trials and tribulations of a mature student are indeed heavy. Download

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The Opportunity Costs of Biodiversity Conservation in Kenya

This is great stuff and elicits strong disapproval. It asks a simple question: imagine there were no Protected Areas in Kenya and that all the land currently protected was developed in just the same way as similar land is. What would be the gain in economic output? The answer? --- about 3% of GDP: in other words, the Protected Areas devoted to biodiversity conservation cost Kenya around 3% of GDP year on year. Next question: do tourism returns or other economic transfers compensate for this loss of GDP? In your dreams!! Download

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