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Globalisation of environmental monetary valuation and sustainable development: an experience in the tropical forest of Cameroon

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The purpose of this article is to test whether the monetary valuation of environmental assets is sufficient to define a sustainable management of natural resources. This discussion is based on a one-year field experience in East Cameroon, one of the aims of which was to question the validity of money as a means of revealing the preferences of villagers towards the goods they exchange and the resources they use. This experience shows that currency and, more broadly, the concepts of the market economy model are not pertinent to a correct representation of the perceptions and the many uses of the natural environment. In these conditions, economic valuation does not enable modes of 'good' management to be determined. Therefore, it seems necessary to look for other means of constructing viable development scenarios that can be adapted to such non-market economies and non-private goods. A 'patrimonial approach' to the environment constitutes an interesting alternative.

Keywords: contingent valuation method, non-market economy, patrimonial approach, money, tropical forest, wealth, sustainable management, sustainable development, natural resources

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