Economic Impact Assessment of Sustainable Management Options of the Elephant Population in the Kruger Trans-frontier Park

By Marthinus C Breitenbach, Támas I. Fényes, Nicolaas G. Meyer and Daniel B. Louw.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The elephant population in the Kruger Trans-frontier Park is currently seen by many nature conservationists as beyond sustainable levels. Wild-life 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-frontier Park. The authors believe that this research would contribute greatly to the debate in other parts of the world.

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 sometimes irreversible damage, such as the extinction of other animal and plant species caused as a result of overpopulation of elephant, is a direct cost to the environment and society. 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 specie lives. Studies undertaken thus far, are mainly based on an economic valuation of the elephant in relation to economic variables that are quantifiable, and also mainly under very limited assumptions. These are but some of the important issues considered in this paper in order to derive Best-Practice appraisal methodology. Although the authors suggest a cost-benefit analysis, it only offers very limited appraisal and the authors therefore argue in favor of a much more rigorous partial equilibrium analysis.

Keywords: Ecological Management, Elephant Management, Partial Equilibrium Model, Linear Programming, Sustainable Ecological Management Options, Environmental Operations Research, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Economic Impact Assessment

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.57-70. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 769.481KB).

Prof. Marthinus C Breitenbach

Associate Professor, School of Economics, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Martin Breitenbach has been teaching economics for 18 years. He is currently an associate professor of economics at the School of Economics at the 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. The authors acknowledge the financial support of Economic Research South Africa (ERSA) in regard to this paper.

Dr. Támas I. Fényes

Professor of Economics, School of Economics, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Tommy is a Hungarian born. He has an extensive list of publications to his name and have had many distinguished invited professorships abroad and has won many distinguished awards during his career. He is currently professor of Economics at the University of Pretoria.

Dr. Nicolaas G. Meyer

Project Economist, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Nicolaas G. Meyer (DBSA), Research Fellow, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Nico Meyer is Project economist at the DBSA. He holds a P.hD. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Pretoria. He has extensive experience in economic modeling and Cost-Benefit design and project appraisal.

Prof. Dr. Daniel B. Louw

University of Pretoria, Paarl, South Africa

Daniel B. Louw (OABS), Research Fellow, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Daan Louw a trained agricultural economist, who consults and advises various spheres of government on policy issues. He has completed comprehensive research using general and partial equilibrium modeling in applied research. He is also extra-ordinary professor of agricultural economics at the University of the Free State in South Africa.

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