When is it OK to “trade” development for conservation? Whenever it works. Which is whenever there is the will, the money and the organization for both.
What usually happens? Development at the price of nature conservation.
What doesn’t work? Conservation without development.
When does development work for conservation? Development is immediate, but conservation is for the long haul. Not easy to measure. And the case I am going to describe below is a bit counter intuitive because we are now financing repair of the very same road where previously we decried road work as facilitating uncontrolled forest exploitation. What is different now?
We are repairing an existing part of the road without extending it – that is different. We are only repairing the road for easier bicycle and motorcycle traffic, not for four wheel traffic – that too is different. But more important: the road work comes “with a park”. At the same time and in association with filling the holes and laying the narrow bridges there will be participative delimitation of a protected area destined to become a national park.
The area shown is the northern part of Maniema Province on the west side of the Lualaba River. The solid red lines are the roads that are being rehabilitated. Further west is the proposed national park.
All of this happens with lots of fanfare, public announcements and public acclaim. Hopefully the hoop-la will help secure its success. Below are some pictures of the beginning of the road work financed by DAI (Development Alternatives International). DAI is also supporting the work involved in the participative delimitation of the protected area.
Thanks to Guy Rondeau for the photos from Lokandu.