Economic Impact Assessment of Sustainable Management Options of the Elephant Population in the Kruger Trans-National Park
The elephant population in the Kruger Trans-national Park is currently seen by many nature conservationists as beyond sustainable levels. Green Peace supporters are of the view that the elephant population should be sustained. Ecologists warn that over-population of the elephant population is putting too much stress on the environment, which may make it impossible to sustain other plant and wild life forms in the long run. The paper has as its main aim to evaluate Environmental (Ecological), Cultural, Economic and Social dimensions of sustainability using Economic Impact Analysis to appraise different options of managing the elephant population in the Kruger Trans-national Park. The authors believe that this research would contribute greatly to the debate in other parts of the world. The impact of elephants on their surroundings can lead to a decline in the total economic value of the return on the ecosystem in general since, if not managed properly, an overpopulation of elephants often leads to environmental degradation. Such degradation could lead to a loss in ecosystem function (indirect use value), which not only implies a loss in ecosystem productivity and resilience, but also the need for ecosystem restoration. The utilization of field crops by elephants that escape from conservation areas and the ensuing challenges between humans and elephants are a direct cost to the affected human community. But this cost is not reflected in, for example, the value an international tourist derives from viewing elephants in the park or protected area where the damage-causing individual lives. This implies that space and context matter when considering economic valuation. These are but some of the important issues considered in this paper in order to derive Best-Practice appraisal methodology.
Keywords: Economic Impact Assessment, Sustainablity, Elephant Management
Prof. Marthinus C Breitenbach
Associate Professor, School of Economics, University of Pretoria
He has published extensively and has persented many international conference papers. He has had visiting professorships at the Molde University College, Norway and The universities of Corvinus, Budapest, Miskolc University and Szent Istvan University in Hungary.
His current research focus is Economic Impact Assessment.
Dr. Támas I. Fényes
Professor of Economics, School of Economics, University of Pretoria