Abstract: Several international conservation organizations have recently produced global priority maps to guide conservation activities and spending in their own and other conservation organizations. Surprisingly, it is not possible to directly evaluate the relationship between priorities and spending within a given organization because none of the organizations with global priority models tracks how they spend their money relative to their priorities. We were able, however, to evaluate the spending patterns of five other large biodiversity conservation organizations without their own published global priority models and investigate the potential influence of priority models on this spending. On average, countries with priority areas received greater conservation investment; global prioritization systems, however, explained between only 2 and 32% of the US$1.5 billion spent in 2002, depending on whether the United States was removed from analyses and whether conservation spending was adjusted by the per capita gross domestic product within each country. We also found little overlap in the spending patterns of the five conservation organizations evaluated, suggesting that informal coordination or segregation of effort may be occurring. Our results also highlight a number of potential gaps and mismatches in how limited conservation funds are spent and provide the first audit of global conservation spending patterns. More explicit presentation of conservation priorities by organizations currently without priority models and better tracking of spending by those with published priorities are clearly needed to help make future conservation activities as efficient as possible.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 2006
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