Some of the most bio-diverse areas of the world are also some of the most impoverished, which is why it can seem cruel to create national parks and other protected areas to preserve these ecosystems. Aren’t the human lives in those regions more important than plants or other animals? Some research has supported the idea that establishing protected areas for wild areas results in an unfair burden on the people who live there.
However, a recent study questions that notion. Perhaps the reason these areas are impoverished is unrelated to their “protected” status. Perhaps creating a nature preserve can actually help the people who live nearby.
Each week, Kevin Zelnio, Razib Khan, and I choose one or more journal articles that have been covered by bloggers on ResearchBlogging.org to discuss in podcast form. Ideally, you’ll read the blog post first to get a general understanding of the research, then listen to our podcast to hear our impressions. Here is the article we’re discussing this week:
Andam, K., Ferraro, P., Sims, K., Healy, A., & Holland, M. (2010). Protected areas reduced poverty in Costa Rica and Thailand Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107 (22), 9996-10001 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914177107
Ed Yong wrote about it on his blog Not Exactly Rocket Science:
Since this remains an experimental project, we’d appreciate any feedback you can offer on the podcast.