NCEAS Product 25153

McKinnon, Madeleine; Cheng, Samantha; Dupre, Samuel; Edmond, Janet; Garside, Ruth; Glew, Louise; Holland, Margaret B.; Levine, Eliot; Masuda, Yuta; Miller, Daniel C.; Oliveira, Isabella; Revenaz, Justine; Roe, Dilys; Shamer, Sierra; Wilkie, David; Wongbusarakum, Supin; Woodhouse, Emily. 2016. What are the effects of nature conservation on human well-being? A systematic map of empirical evidence from developing countries. Environmental Evidence. Vol: 5(8). (Abstract) (Online version)


Global policy initiatives and international conservation organizations have sought to emphasize and strengthen the link between the conservation of natural ecosystems and human development. While many indices have been developed to measure various social outcomes to conservation interventions, the quantity and strength of evidence to support the effects, both positive and negative, of conservation on different dimensions of human well-being, remain unclear, dispersed and inconsistent. A total of 1043 articles were included in the systematic map database. Included articles measured effects across eight nature conservation-related intervention and ten human well-being related outcome categories. Linkages between interventions and outcomes with high occurrence of evidence include resource management interventions, such as fisheries and forestry, and economic and material outcomes. Over 25 % of included articles examined linkages between protected areas and aspects of economic well-being. Fewer than 2 % of articles evaluated human health outcomes. Robust study designs were limited with less than 9 % of articles using quantitative approaches to evaluate causal effects of interventions. Over 700 articles occurred in forest biomes with less than 50 articles in deserts or mangroves, combined. The evidence base is growing on conservation-human well-being linkages, but biases in the extent and robustness of articles on key linkages persist. Priorities for systematic review, include linkages between marine resource management and economic/material well-being outcomes; and protected areas and governance outcomes. Greater and more robust evidence is needed for many established interventions to better understand synergies and trade-offs between interventions, in particular those that are emerging or contested.