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IUCN Report Shows Protected Areas Increase Economic Gains in West Africa

15 March 2011: In a new report, a survey carried out by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2010 shows that local populations living close to protected areas in West Africa earn an additional 40% of their income from activities related to these areas. The findings highlight protected areas' potential for reinforcing sustainable development as well as conservation, according to IUCN.

The study examined how protected areas affect jobs and revenues, and compared the benefits with the average agricultural income.

According to Geoffroy Mauvais, IUCN Regional Coordinator for Protected Areas in Central and West Africa, people near protected areas have a very low income, but the sustainable gathering of natural products made possible by the protected areas are the major source of increased income, with tourism and fishing following far behind. For example, sustainable gathering of shea nuts and other fruits, wild honey, grasses for brooms, straw and wood accounts for EUR78 annually, which is 80% of the poverty line income. [Publication: Protected Areas Increase Economic Gains in West Africa (French)] [IUCN Press Release]