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Protected areas are used to sustain biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, protected areas can create tradeoffs spatially and temporally among ecosystem services, which can affect the welfare of dependent local communities. This study examines the effect of a protected area on the tradeoff between two extractive ecosystem services from mangrove forests: cutting mangroves (fuelwood) and harvesting the shrimp and fish that thrive if mangroves are not cut. We demonstrate the effect in the context of Saadani National Park (SANAPA) in Tanzania, where enforcement of prohibition of mangrove harvesting was strengthened to preserve biodiversity. Remote sensing data of mangrove cover over time are integrated with georeferenced household survey data in an econometric framework to identify the causal effect of mangrove protection on income components directly linked to mangrove ecosystem services. Our findings suggest that many households experienced an immediate loss in the consumption of mangrove firewood, with the loss most prevalent in richer households. However, all wealth classes appear to benefit from long-term sustainability gains in shrimping and fishing that result from mangrove protection. On average, we find that a 10% increase in the mangrove cover within SANAPA boundaries in a 5-km2 radius of the subvillage increases shrimping income by approximately twofold. The creation of SANAPA shifted the future trajectory of the area from one in which mangroves were experiencing uncontrolled cutting to one in which mangrove conservation is providing gains in income for the local villages as a result of the preservation of nursery habitat and biodiversity.


Emi Uchida is a professor in the Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics.