The green economy and protected areas – constraint or opportunity?

Bowy den Braber

How protected areas (PAs) influence people’s well-being and livelihoods is one of the most controversial debates in conservation policy. PAs can constrain economic development by preventing exploitation of natural resources, thus increasing poverty. In contrast, PAs may also secure long-term flows of ecosystem services and generate economic benefits from natural capital, thus reducing poverty in local communities. The debate on whether PAs constrain or provide opportunities for economic development remains lively, intense and unresolved.

It is becoming increasingly relevant as many countries consider expanding protected area networks through biodiversity off-setting and payment for ecosystem services schemes. This studentship focuses on Brazil and Indonesia as case studies. It will apply recently developed analytical techniques and novel datasets to answer the question of how protected areas influence the economic development and poverty of local communities.


For our Journal Club Bowy den Braber introduced two articles which got our first year students thinking about how the impacts of conservation efforts are measured. In this blog post, he talks us through the debates and the discussion. Read: The wild world of impact.


Dr Karl Evans

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences


Dr Rob Bryant

Department of Geography

Dr Johan Oldekop

Sheffield Institute for International Development