Feasibility and design of a market-based certification scheme for the wildlife sector

Investigation into the potential feasibility and design of a market-based certification scheme for the wildlife sector of South Africa
UNDP for Department of Environmental Affairs
South Africa

This study was commissioned by the UNDP on behalf of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), the private wildlife sector and civil society to investigate the potential feasibility and design of a sector-specific, voluntary, market-based certification scheme for the wildlife sector of South Africa. The South African wildlife industry has over the past few decades been largely compatible with conserving biodiversity, but while many game ranches do still make a significant contribution to the protection of habitat and wildlife, a recent shift towards more intensive game ranching practices has had some negative consequences. The intensification of the sector has eroded some of the conservation benefits, through increases in fencing, higher stocking densities, increases in exotic species and selective breeding practices.  It has been recognised that wildlife ranchers need counter-incentives in order to reduce and hopefully reverse the trend for intensification and, in so doing, improve their contribution to biodiversity conservation and help to restore the wildlife and tourism sectors’ reputation in the international community.  Using regular survey methods and a choice experiment we investigated rancher preferences and the level of indirect cost to farmers of complying with specific design aspects of a potential certification scheme.  From this the potential feasibility and a recommended design of a certification scheme for the wildlife sector was presented for further investigation in the next phase of the study.