Economics of conservation law enforcement by rangers across Asia
Farhadinia MS., Johnson PJ., Kamath V., Eid E., Hikmani HA., Ambarlı H., Alom Z., Askerov E., Buchakiet P., Buuveibaatar B., Gavashelishvili A., Tsiklauri K., Gritsina MA., Haidir I., Htun S., Kabir M., Khanal G., Kittle A., Koshkin MA., Kulenbekov R., Kubanychbekov Z., Lynam A., Maheshwari A., Penjor U., Rasphone A., Raza H., Redford T., Rizayeva A., Rosen T., Weinberg P., Yachmennikova A., Yamaguchi N., Macdonald DW.
Biodiversity targets, under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, prioritize both conservation area and their effectiveness. The effective management of protected areas (PAs) depends greatly on law enforcement resources, which is often tasked to rangers. We addressed economic aspects of law enforcement by rangers working in terrestrial landscapes across Asia. Accordingly, we used ranger numbers and payment rates to derive continental-scale estimates. Ranger density has decreased by 2.4-fold since the 1990s, increasing the median from 10.9 to 26.4 km2 of PAs per ranger. Rangers were generally paid more than the minimum wage (median ratio = 1.9) and the typical salaries in agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector (median ratio = 1.2). Annual spending on ranger salaries varied widely among countries, with a median of annual US71 km−2 of PA. Nearly 208,000 rangers patrolling Asian PAs provide an invaluable opportunity to develop ranger-based monitoring plans for evaluating the conservation performance. As decision-makers frequently seek an optimum number of law enforcement staff, our study provides a continental baseline median of 46.3 km2 PA per ranger. Our findings also provide a baseline for countries to improve their ranger-based law enforcement which is critical for their Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework targets.