Does Resource Commercialization Induce Local Conservation? A Cautionary Tale From Southwestern Morocco
Lybbert, Travis J.; Barrett, Christopher B.
Ecotourism, bioprospecting and non-timber product marketing have been promoted recently as market-based instruments for environmental protection, but without sound understanding of the resulting net conservation effects. We present evidence on the local effects of recent argan oil commercialization in Morocco, a seemingly promising case of conservation through resource commercialization. We find that resource commercialization creates mixed net conservation incentives because assumptions implicit in the prevailing logic prove incorrect. The experience of southwestern Morocco provides a cautionary tale about conservation strategies founded on resource commercialization, emphasizing that the biology of a resource often exerts greater influence on conservation outcomes than do market forces.
WP 2003-22 May 2003
The authors thank the Fulbright Program, The Moroccan-American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange, Dr. Daniel Sisler, the Department of Applied Economics and Management, the Cornell Institute for International Food, Agriculture and Development, the Einaudi Center for International Studies, and the Program on Comparative Economic Development, all at Cornell University, for funding this research.
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
Conservation; Resource Commercialization; Bioprospecting; Non-timber forest products; Argan