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Certified community forests positively impact human wellbeing and conservation effectiveness and improve the performance of nearby national protected areas

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Marion PfeiferORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals LLCCommunity forests (CFs) aim to improve human wellbeing and conservation effectiveness, though their performance remains contested. A recent innovation in protected area (PA) governance is to combine CFs with forest certification. We assess (1) the impact of certified CFs on wellbeing and conservation effectiveness; (2) gender inequality and elite capture; (3) interaction effects with neighboring national PAs. We used a novel approach that integrates field data consisting of locally identified indicators representative of multidimensional wellbeing, with remotely sensed data on conservation effectiveness and statistical matching to improve causal inference. We found that CFs positively impacted wellbeing, conservation effectiveness, and reduced gender inequality, though they did not reduce elite capture. We also detected positive interaction effects between certified CFs and neighboring national PAs. Our findings suggest that locating contrasting local and national PA governance approaches next to each other may help to maximize wellbeing and conservation benefits within complex multiuse landscapes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Loveridge R, Sallu SM, Pfeifer M, Oldekop JA, Mgaya M, da Silva DA, Latham J, Platts PJ, Marshall AR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Conservation Letters

Year: 2021

Volume: 14

Issue: 6

Print publication date: 24/12/2021

Online publication date: 27/07/2021

Acceptance date: 03/07/2021

Date deposited: 10/08/2021

ISSN (electronic): 1755-263X

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc


DOI: 10.1111/conl.12831


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Funder referenceFunder name
Pfeifer [funded] by Biotechnology, and Biological Sciences Research Council BB/S014586/1.
UK Economic and Social Research Council award ES/J500215/1, conducted under COSTECH permit 2019-42-NA-2019-33.