a1 School of Conservation Sciences, Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Poole, Dorset, BH12 5BB, UK.
Tree species have been the focus of increasing interest regarding the so-called conservation-through-use approach, which aims to achieve conservation by increasing the value of wild resources to local communities. Although tree species display many characteristics that increase their potential for sustainable use, the approach is rarely successful in practice. The reasons for this are examined with reference to case studies, considering five conditions needed for success: (1) sustainable harvesting, (2) no interaction between threats, (3) successful commercialization, (4) economic benefits received by producers, and (5) use of financial income to support conservation action. Case studies illustrate that even when the first four of these conditions are met, trade in forest products often provides insufficient financial returns to protect the forest against other threats. This highlights the importance of understanding the interactions between threats for conservation-through-use to be achieved, an issue illustrated by a conceptual model. Recommendations are presented indicating how the conservation of tree species through sustainable use may be achieved in practice. Critically, financial rewards of sustainable use need to be large enough to support practical conservation action, which is required to counter the many threats to which tree species are exposed.
(Received March 29 2007)
(Reviewed July 02 2007)
(Accepted October 25 2007)