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Gains from configuration: The transboundary protected area as a conservation tool


  • Busch, Jonah


Nearly two hundred transboundary protected areas comprise a portion of the global conservation landscape the size of India, with further expansion anticipated. Proponents claim that transboundary protected areas outperform isolated protected areas in achieving conservation objectives, while regional case studies have led critics to challenge this claim. Empirical investigation into the relative performance of transboundary protected areas is fundamentally limited since these areas cannot be directly compared to the isolated protected areas that might otherwise have emerged in the same location. This paper develops a game theory model of park formation to compare counterfactual transboundary and isolated protected areas. The model suggests that under certain conditions, transboundary protected areas can achieve greater conservation and production objectives, even in the absence of international cooperative park management. The paper establishes five sufficient conditions for transboundary protected areas to provide greater national welfare, domestic conservation value, or global conservation value than counterfactual isolated protected areas. These conditions are tested for three common conservation objectives. The results suggest that when the objective of conservation is species persistence or interior habitat, conservation groups should encourage transboundary protected areas. However, when the objective of conservation is to extend reserve coverage to the maximum number of species, conservation groups should encourage protected areas where species richness is greatest, whether or not these areas span international borders.

Suggested Citation

  • Busch, Jonah, 2008. "Gains from configuration: The transboundary protected area as a conservation tool," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 394-404, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:67:y:2008:i:3:p:394-404

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Salant, Stephen W, 1976. "Exhaustible Resources and Industrial Structure: A Nash-Cournot Approach to the World Oil Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(5), pages 1079-1093, October.
    2. Skonhoft, Anders & Solem, Havard, 2001. "Economic growth and land-use changes: the declining amount of wilderness land in Norway," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 289-301, May.
    3. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
    4. H. Scott Gordon, 1954. "The Economic Theory of a Common-Property Resource: The Fishery," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 124-124.
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    Cited by:

    1. Quérou, N. & Tomini, A., 2013. "Managing interacting species in unassessed fisheries," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 192-201.
    2. repec:spr:endesu:v:21:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s10668-017-0047-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Sviataslau Valasiuk & Mikołaj Czajkowski & Marek Giergiczny & Tomasz Żylicz & Knut Veisten & Marine Elbakidze & Per Angelstam, 2017. "Are Bilateral Conservation Policies for the Białowieża Forest Unattainable? Analysis of Stated Preferences of Polish and Belarusian Public," Working Papers 2017-09, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.


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