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Little Evidence Conservation Organizations Respond to Economic Signals

A University of Tennessee study finds that nonprofit organizations aiming to protect biodiversity show little evidence of responding to economic signals, which could limit the effectiveness of future conservation efforts.

The study is published this week in the academic journal Ecology and Evolution and can be read at http://bit.ly/1t8fT24.

The relationship between economic conditions and conservation efforts is complicated. On the one hand, funding for conservation depends on a booming economy, which swells state coffers and increases membership dues, service revenues and philanthropic giving. On the other hand, economic growth is often perceived by conservationists as a threat to habitats and ecosystems because of more demand for raw materials and increased development, waste and pollution. Conservation organizations must balance these two conflicting forces.

“Employment, the stock market, a recession—they are all assumed to impact how conservation organizations do their work. But it is all talk and no data,” said Peter Kareiva, chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy. “This is the first study I know that actually used hard-nosed analysis to find out how conservation organizations change their behavior, or not, in response to economic shocks.”

Continue reading at tntoday.utk.edu.