The green economy and protected areas – constraint or opportunity?

Grantham Scholar Dr Bowy den Braber is now a Postdoc at Københavns Universitet, University of Copenhagen. At the Grantham Centre he applied analytical techniques and novel datasets to see how protected areas influence the economic development and poverty of local communities.

The project

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.


Watch: Valuing Nature: Does a price on nature help or hinder its conservation? Bowy was part of a group of Scholars who organised this seminar on the pros and cons of putting a price on nature. You can watch it on our YouTube channel.

For our Journal Club Bowy den Braber introduced 2 articles about the measurement of conservation efforts. In this blog, he talks us through the debates and the discussion. Read: The wild world of impact and conservation by Bowy den Braber.

Social media

You can find Bowy on LinkedIn.

Stay up to date with Bowy den Braber and the other Grantham Scholars: join our newsletter.



Dr Rob Bryant

Department of Geography

Dr Johan Oldekop

Sheffield Institute for International Development