Blog Post

Prioritizing Policies for Biodiversity Conservation: A new RFF Press Book

Jan 9, 2015 | Allen Blackman

 Prioritizing PoliciesPoverty, political instability, and natural disasters are just a few of the problems facing Latin America and the Caribbean. So it’s not surprising that policymakers devote limited resources to conserving the region’s biodiversity—even if it is, by all accounts, exceptionally rich and valuable. But that’s exactly why those scarce conservation resources need to be deployed strategically.

The new RFF Press book, “Biodiversity Conservation in Latin America and the Caribbean: Prioritizing Policies” is essentially a conservation strategy source book. (Available via RFF Press or Amazon).

Co-authored by RFF researchers Becky Epanchin-Niell, Juha Siikamäki, Daniel Velez-Lopez and me, it has three sections.

  • The first part provides an overview of the region’s (terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine) biodiversity, the threats to this biodiversity, and the drivers of these threats.
  • The second section summarizes what we know about seventeen leading conservation policies, including regulatory polices like protected areas and land-use planning, and market based approaches like subsidy reform and payments for ecosystem services.
  • And the third section proposes a five-point action plan focusing on green agriculture, strengthening terrestrial protected areas and co-management, improving environmental governance, strengthening coastal and marine resource management, and improving biodiversity data and policy evaluation.

The book’s main selling point, in my view, is synthesis: it condenses specialized material from several disciplines into concise accessible chapters. Each includes plenty of citations for those who want to dig deeper. We hope it will not only prove both a useful guide for policymakers and a good text book for classes on conservation biology, environmental studies, and applied natural resource economics.

We cajoled Tom Lovejoy, the ecologist who coined the term “biodiversity” into providing this plug, which we would like to think is mostly accurate:

“At last: the handbook on biodiversity conservation in Latin America and the Caribbean we all have needed…with all the consideration necessary for best practice choices…a revolutionary contribution.”