Conserving Tropical Biodiversity Amid Weak Institutions

BioScience, 2001

Posted: 22 May 2011

See all articles by Christopher B. Barrett

Christopher B. Barrett

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management

Katrina Brandon

University of Maryland

Clark Gibson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science

Heidi Gjertsen

Cornell University

Date Written: June 1, 2001

Abstract

Tropical-biodiversity conservation has changed radically over the past generation. Until the early 1980s, conventional wisdom held that central governments should manage all conservation efforts in developing countries. Over the past 15 years or so, scholars, conservation practitioners, and policymakers have advocated an alternative approach based on bottom-up direction by local communities in response to real or perceived government malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance under the previous top-down model. Now that some of the pitfalls of community authority over conservation decisions have become apparent, the question is what, if any, best-bet strategies exist if the institutions of both government agencies and communities are ill equipped to handle the challenges of biodiversity conservation? (We follow Douglass North's [1990] definition of institutions as “the rules of the game in a society or, more formally, … the humanly derived constraints that shape human interaction[p. 3].” Thus, we distinguish between organizations and institutions. For example, a bank is an organization, but within it are many formal and informal rules - institutions - that guide individuals' behavior.)

Suggested Citation

Barrett, Christopher B. and Brandon, Katrina and Gibson, Clark C. and Gjertsen, Heidi, Conserving Tropical Biodiversity Amid Weak Institutions (June 1, 2001). BioScience, 2001, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1847716

Christopher B. Barrett (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management ( email )

315 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7801
United States
607-255-4489 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://aem.cornell.edu/faculty_sites/cbb2/

Katrina Brandon

University of Maryland

Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology
College Park, MD 20742
United States

Clark C. Gibson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

Heidi Gjertsen

Cornell University ( email )

Dept. of Agricultural, Resource & Managerial Economics 351 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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