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Value of Protected Areas to Society

Yilma Dellelegn
Ethiopian Wildlife & Natural History Society
29th June 2013
Borana Zone, Yabello
Outline of presentation
Why protected areas?
Establishment rationale
Do PAs have value to society?
Perceptions and attitudes
PA values tangible and non-tangible
Questions and recommendations
Protected Areas and importance
Despite their diminishing status, Ethiopia still
holds important ecosystems and attendant
These natural resources also form the
livelihood for millions of people and animals.
However, the status of most of these
biodiversity is in danger as a result of a
number of reasons.
Protected Areas and importance
Growing human population is placing
increasing pressure on natural habitats.
Overgrazing, pollution, de-vegetation and
conversion of natural habitats into other
forms of land use are destroying the basis for
Besides conserving biodiversity, PAs play a
major role of providing both tangible and non-
tangible benefits to humankind.
Protected Areas and importance
There is increasing consensus that Protected
Areas are not only about wildlife but also
about development, people and also the
provision of benefits.
Globally (including Ethiopia) governments are
realising that PAs can help in the struggle to
alleviate poverty and bring prosperity to
Protected Areas and importance
Ethiopia at Federal level manages 13 PAs in
various categories of National Park,
Sanctuaries, Wildlife Reserves.
Regions also control and manage a number of
national parks, reserves, controlled hunting
areas and priority forest areas.
PAs cover approximately 14% of the countrys
surface area.
Distribution of Protected Areas in

Yabello Sanctuary
Protected Areas and Establishment
Wildlife areas have
rationales for
Rationales are most
often related to their
significance for
Rationale for establishing PAs
Reasons for Other reasons include
establishment are Income generation from
species or ecosystem tourism
related; these include: Recreation
Endemic species Educational/Scientific
Rare species
High numbers and
diversity of wildlife
Attractive or beautiful
nature: Scenic, waterfalls
Importance of Yabello
Yabello was established
to primarily protect a
population of Swaynes
These species is not to
be found now and even
if present must be
critically threatened
Has not been formally
established to date.
Importance of Yabello
One of the major
species conserved is the
endangered and
endemic Ethiopian
Bushcrow ().

Ethiopian Bushcrow, Credit: Paul Donald

Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary
White-tailed Swallow
() is another
Vulnerable and endemic
species conserved.

White-tailed Swallow. Credit Paul Donald

W-T Swallow: Credit: Claire Spottiswoode

Importance of Yabello
Yabello was established
to primarily protect a
population of Swaynes
Other species found
include Ostrich,
Burchells Zebra,
Gerenuk, Grants
Burchells Zebra, Gazelle and both Kudus.
Has not been formally
established to date.
Protected Areas and value
Besides the values appreciated in terms of
conservation of species and economic
benefits, PAs provide other multiple benefits.
These include:
help to meet the MDG goals of alleviating
Service to livelihood support; food, water
medicine and grazing
Protected Areas and value
Add quality to life
Clean water and air
Water resources for irrigation & power supply
Regulation of ecosystem services i.e. water flow,
carbon sequestration, flood control.
Cultural and spiritual benefits.
Protected Areas and value
Ecological services
Act as gene banks, Coffee forests in south and the
south west are living gene banks where seveeral
land races are found. Priceless value to the
breeding of coffee.
Flagship species such as the Ethiopian Bushcrow
are important for conservation of a larger
landscape including its wild inhabitants.
PAs and poverty alleviation
Poverty is not only about economics.
Poverty can also be assessed in terms of other
fulfillments to human life.
Economics (access to money and ability to
spend it) is just one of many measures of
PAs and poverty alleviation
Studies conducted globally show that poverty
alleviation can mean:
Tangible benefits
Subsistence (livelihoods):- nutrition, health, clean
water, and shelter
Economic :- employment, assets and wealth
Environmental services:- stability, natural
Governance: decision-making
PAs and poverty alleviation
Intangible benefits

Eventhough these PAs have been established

for the protection/conservation of
biodiversity, they have important implications
for alleviating poverty.
PAs in line with Ethiopias PASDEP and
Protected areas are in line with Ethiopias
development goals to alleviate poverty and
raise the quality of life of its citizens.
Ethiopias PASDEP (plan for accelerated and
sustained development to end poverty) recognizes
the link between environmental degradation
and poverty.
MDG ( )
PAs in line with Ethiopias PASDEP and
The main objective of the PASDEP is to lay out
the directions for accelerated, sustained, and
people-centered economic development as
well as to pave the groundwork for the
attainment of the MDGs by 2015.
Protected areas as units of landscape where
biodiversity and associated ecological services
are protected can play a major role in
alleviating poverty.
PAs in line with Ethiopias PASDEP and
This is because:
A high percentage of the countrys population lives
in rural areas (85%) depending on natural resources
i.e. soil, water, fuelwood).
Statistics shows that agriculture contributes > 46 %
of the country's GDP, more than 90 % of its exports
and 80 % of its employment .
About 12 million small holder households account
for approximately 95 % of agricultural GDP and 85
% of employment.
PAs in line with Ethiopias PASDEP and
Ethiopia's agriculture is based primarily on
subsistence mixed agriculture and pastoralism.
A large part of the population depends on the
natural resource base for their livelihoods.
The small-holder in Ethiopia leads a subsistence
mode of life.
All this gives us the impetus to protect our
national parks, wildlife reserves and
PAs in line with Ethiopias PASDEP and
The value provided by protected areas like Yabello
cannot even be estimated.
The value from nature (especially the intangible values
like ground water recharge, carbon sequestration, flood
retention etc) far exceeds the benefit we get from
tourism, trophy hunting etc.
Ethiopias national budget for the year 2012/13 is 137.8
billion birr (8 million USD). Proper valuation of the
benefits from protected areas excels this figure even
from one PA.
Valuing Protected Areas
One aspect which all would understand is the
value of wild plants in providing medicine to
These value is underestimated when we consider
that rural communities almost totally depend on
these resources for human and animal health.
It is reported that no less than 85% of Ethiopias
population use and partly depend on plants as
primary sources of health care.
Valuing Protected Areas
If the value from these wild plants was converted
to monetary terms vis a vis the costs of modern
medication, it would easily run into millions if not
billions of dollars.
Values like ground water recharge or provision of
grazing or clean water cannot easily be
estimated. This can be estimated by costing an
alternative source of providing that nature-based
free service artificially. For example, providing
piped water for a town from a river over a
distance of 100 km.
Protected Areas and climate change
PAs mitigate against climate change by cutting
emissions of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Fifteen percent of the worlds terrestrial carbon
stock - 312 gigatonnes - are stored in protected
areas around the world.
Protected areas also serve as natural buffers
against climate impacts and other disasters,
providing space for floodwaters to disperse,
stabilizing soil against landslides and blocking
storm surges.
Protected Areas and climate change
protected areas can keep natural resources
healthy and productive so they can withstand
the impacts of climate change and continue to
provide the food, clean water, shelter and
income communities rely upon for survival.
measuring poverty alleviation against PAs
who benefits?
distribution of benefits
how do we quantify benefits?
do we have mechanisms to quantify benefits?
how many people can benefit?
how do we equitably share the benefits to the
Final word

Thank you for listening

The End!