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Parks, Buffer Zones, and Costly Enforcement


  • Elizabeth J. Z. Robinson
  • Heidi J. Albers


The reality of protected area management is that enforcing forest and park boundaries is costly and so most likely incomplete, due in part to the pressures exerted on the boundaries by local people who often have traditionally relied on the park resources. Buffer zones are increasingly being proposed and implemented to protect both forest resources and livelihoods. Developing a spatially-explicit optimal enforcement model, this paper demonstrates that there is a trade-off between the amount spent on enforcement, the size of a formal buffer zone, and the extent to which a forest can be protected from illegal extraction. Indeed, given the reality of limited enforcement budgets, a forest manager with a mandate to protect a whole forest may in fact end up doing a worse job than one who is able to incorporate an appropriately sized buffer zone into their management plans that, combined with more effective enforcement of a smaller exclusion zone, provide the appropriate incentives for villagers to extract only in the periphery of the forest, rather than venture further into the forest.

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  • Elizabeth J. Z. Robinson & Heidi J. Albers, 2006. "Parks, Buffer Zones, and Costly Enforcement," CSAE Working Paper Series 2006-15, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2006-15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. de Janvry, Alain & Finan, Frederico & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & Vakis, Renos, 2006. "Can conditional cash transfer programs serve as safety nets in keeping children at school and from working when exposed to shocks?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 349-373, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sirén, Anders & Parvinen, Kalle, 2015. "A spatial bioeconomic model of the harvest of wild plants and animals," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 201-210.
    2. Albers, H.J. & Robinson, E.J.Z., 2013. "A review of the spatial economics of non-timber forest product extraction: Implications for policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 87-95.
    3. Robinson, Elizabeth J.Z. & Kumar, Ajay Mahaputra & Albers, Heidi J., 2009. "Optimal Enforcement and Practical Issues of Resource Protection in Developing Countries," Discussion Papers dp-09-08-efd, Resources For the Future.

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