Keywords: Africa, Australia, biodiversity preservation, common property, fugitive resources, open access, property rights, total economic value, wildlife conservation, species loss, private lands
Property rights in non-captive wildlife and biodiversity conservation
To reduce the rate of human-induced biodiversity loss of wild species, it has become increasingly important to stem this loss on private lands. Some writers believe that granting landholders commercial property rights in wildlife will be effective in dealing with this matter and will result in the preservation of biodiversity. This paper explores this view using economic theory. In doing so, it takes into account the total economic valuation concept. While granting of commercial property rights is found to be effective for conserving some species, it is predicted to be a complete failure as a means of conserving other species and also to vary in its potential for success in different regions of the world. The Southern African policy cannot be effective everywhere. Here, particular attention is given to the economics of utilisation and conservation of non-captive fugitive (or mobile) wildlife.