Action: Promote sustainable alternative livelihoods
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A single before-and-after study in Costa Rica found an increase in a scarlet macaw Ara macao population following several interventions including the promotion of sustainable, macaw-based livelihoods.
Conserving biodiversity and eliminating poverty are linked global challenges. The poor, particularly the rural poor, depend on nature for many elements of their livelihoods, including food, fuel, shelter and medicines. Working alongside people who will ultimately benefit from conservation can build social capital, improve accountability and reduce poverty.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A before-and-after study in western Costa Rica (Vaughan et al. 2005) found an increase in a scarlet macaw Ara macao population from 185-225 individuals in 1990-4 to 225-265 in 1997-2003, following the promotion of economic incentives relating to macaws and several other interventions (‘Use education programmes and local engagement to help reduce persecution or exploitation of species’, ‘Provide artificial nesting sites’ and ‘Guard nests to increase nest success’). In 1990-4 the population had been showing a 4%/year decline. This study is discussed in more detail in ‘Increase ‘on-the-ground’ protection to reduce unsustainable levels of exploitation’.