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Testing hypotheses for the success of different conservation strategies


Evaluations of the success of different conservation strategies are still in their infancy. We used four different measures of project outcomes-ecological, economic, attitudinal, and behavioral - to test hypotheses derived from the assumptions that underlie contemporary conservation solutions. Our hypotheses concerned the effects of natural resource utilization, market integration, decentralization, and community homogeneity on project success. We reviewed the conservation and development literature and used a specific protocol to extract and code the information in a sample of papers. Although our results are by no means conclusive and suffer from the paucity of high-quality data and independent monitoring (80% of the original sample of 124 projects provided inadequate information for use in this study), they show that permitted use of natural resources, market access, and greater community involvement in the conservation project are all important factors for a successful outcome. Without better monitoring schemes in place, it is still impossible to provide a systematic evaluation of how different strategies are best suited to different conservation challenges.

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