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Global benefits and local costs – The dilemma of tropical forest conservation: A review of the situation in Madagascar


Deforestation is one of the most important conservation problems in tropical developing countries, even though cost–benefit analyses consistently show that forest conservation is economically beneficial. In Madagascar, deforestation continues at alarming rates despite numerous initiatives of international donors to increase incentives for local households to support forest conservation. In this literature review, we contrast cost–benefit analyses for forest conservation with: (1) the actual burdens and (2) the actual gains of forest conservation for rural households, generated mainly in the context of conservation projects. We show that approaches to generating direct benefits deliver less value than expected for rural communities; the benefit transfer mechanisms are insufficient as the majority of benefits are captured by other stakeholders, and increased benefit transfer is limited by structural and institutional limitations in local communities, valuation chains and in terms of governance failure at higher levels.

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Corresponding author
*Correspondence: Dr. Regina Neudert e-mail:
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