issues and experts

SFU Expert: Conservation actually works

October 25, 2017

Do countries that invest more on conservation actually achieve better results?

SFU biological sciences professor Arne Mooers is part of an international research team that has released a study today in Nature confirming that countries that spend more money on conservation had less of their biodiversity subsequently threatened with extinction. They also found countries that spent less saw more of their biodiversity inch towards oblivion. 

“One of our most interesting findings is that the same amount of money goes further in poorer countries than richer countries,” says Mooers.

“This may be because many species have already been lost in the richer countries, making conservation spending actually less effective.”

The study also found that fast economic growth negatively impacts conservation spending.

“This suggests economic development overrides conservation in rapidly-developing countries,” says Mooers. “We need to double-down on conservation in those countries, like Indonesia, in order to get a win-win outcome.”

The researchers developed a model that can be used to predict where funds can best protect biodiversity. Decision-makers can now forecast what conservation spending will achieve under various country-specific growth and development scenarios.

The researchers from Canada, the U.S and the United Kingdom took seven years to compile and analyze a dataset that tracked nearly three billion dollars of conservation money spent annually by 192 countries.

Arne Mooers, Biological Sciences,
Wan Yee Lok, Communications & Marketing,, 778.782.3210