Navigation Links
Study confirms food security helps wildlife

NEW YORK (EMBARGOED UNTIL: AUGUST 22, 2011, 3:00 PM U.S. EASTERN TIME) A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) documents the success of a Wildlife Conservation Society program that uses an innovative business model to improve rural livelihoods while restoring local wildlife populations.

Known as COMACO (Community Markets for Conservation), the program began in Zambia in 2003 and has resulted in wildlife populations stabilizing and rebounding in areas once ravaged by poaching. In addition, local people including some of the world's poorest farmers are now benefitting from higher crop yields and improved livelihoods.

The study appears in the August 23rd edition of PNAS. Authors include Dale Lewis, Mwangala Mukamba of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Makondo Kabila; Samuel Bell, Kim Bothi, Lydia Gatere, Carmen Moraru, Johannes Lehman, James, Lassoie, David Wolfe, David Lee, Louise Buck, and Alexander Travis of Cornell University; John Fay of the University of Cape Town; and Edwin Matokwaani and Matthews Mushimbalume of the Zambian Wildlife Authority.

The COMACO program teaches rural villagers including former poachers sustainable agriculture methods that improve crop yields while reducing deforestation. COMACO then helps them earn more by adding value to crops, such as selling peanut butter instead of peanuts. Importantly, the program provides access to national and international commodity and retail markets. COMACO links membership in the cooperative business with wildlife conservation by having new participants turn in their guns and snares and by monitoring of the sustainable practices.

"COMACO represents a pragmatic solution to several related problems that plague rural Africa: poverty, deforestation, and loss of wildlife," said the study's lead author and COMACO founder Dale Lewis of the Wildlife Conservation Society. "This study documents COMACO's initial successes and outlines some of the challenges that lie ahead to ensure the program's long-term success."

Since 2003, the program has trained more than 40,000 farmers. More than 61,000 wire snares and 1,467 guns have been voluntarily turned in by participants. The program has expanded from two locations in the Luangwa Valley to a growing network of sites surrounding national parks, providing a buffer of reduced poaching and snare use.

As part of the study, aerial surveys show that wildlife including zebra, wildebeest, eland and other species have stabilized or are increasing following steady declines in the 1980s and 1990s from rampant poaching.

"COMACO shows how conservation can and should work," said John Robinson, WCS Executive Vice President for Conservation and Science. "Conservation cannot function without the buy-in of local people, and this is a shining example of how that goal can be achieved with impressive results for both people and wildlife."

In addition to environmental benefits, the study showed that COMACO farmers, particularly women, had higher crop yields than their non-COMACO peers. In response, many non-COMACO farmers are now adopting sustainable farming methods, learning from their COMACO-trained neighbors. Consequently, soil quality has improved with higher soil carbon on sustainable farms than on conventional farms.

As a business, COMACO is diversifying its products and markets. An important example is production of high-energy protein supplements sold to Catholic Relief Services and the World Food Programme for feeding orphans, HIV patients and refugees.

These efforts have allowed COMACO to move consistently toward an economic break-even point.

"They are trying to do something that very few wildlife and social interventions have ever dreamed of, which is to become self-sufficient," said co-author Alexander Travis of Cornell University's Baker Institute for Animal Health.


Contact: Stephen Sautner
Wildlife Conservation Society

Related biology news :

1. New CU-Boulder study reveals bacteria from dog feces in outdoor air of urbanized air
2. Mount Sinai receives $3.4 million for largest study of personalized medicine in the clinical setting
3. Study aims to improve fuel economy by 30 percent
4. Life on the wind: Study reveals how microbes travel the Earth
5. Study: New process that can save at-risk cancer patients is effective and significantly less costly
6. National Institutes of Health renews successful infectious disease research study
7. Study helps assess global status of tuna and billfish stocks
8. Study finds new role for protein in hearing
9. Fat and healthy? York U study finds slim isnt always superior
10. Competition with humans responsible for decline of New Zealands endangered sea lions, study shows
11. UCLA life scientists study of abalone yields new insights into sexual reproduction
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Study confirms food security helps wildlife
(Date:11/12/2015)... , Nov. 12, 2015  A golden retriever ... Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) has provided a new lead ... Children,s Hospital, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard ... Brazil . Cell, pinpoints ... dogs "escape" the disease,s effects. The Boston Children,s lab ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... NEW YORK , Nov. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... refers to behavioral biometrics that helps to identify ... prevent fraud. Signature is considered as the secure ... for the identification of a particular individual because ... offers more accurate results especially when dynamic signature ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015   MedNet Solutions , ... entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to announce ... Tech Association (MHTA) as one of only three finalists ... "Software – Small and Growing" category. The Tekne Awards honor ... have shown superior technology innovation and leadership. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... HOLLISTON, Mass. , Nov. 25, 2015 ... a biotechnology company developing bioengineered organ implants for life-threatening ... will present at the LD Micro "Main Event" investor ... PT. The presentation will be webcast live and posted ... also be available at the conference for one-on-one meetings ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 Orexigen® Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: OREX ... fireside chat discussion at the Piper Jaffray 27th Annual ... The discussion is scheduled for Wednesday, December 2, at ... A replay will be available for 14 days after ... Julie NormartVP, Corporate Communications and Business Development , BrewLife(858) ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced Dr. Bruce Clarke, of ... since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service to the ... of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of turfgrass pathology in the department of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Worcester, Mass. (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 ... ... need to maintain healthy metabolism. But unless it is bound to proteins, copper ... Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: