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Outsourcing Wildlife Conservation: A Comparative Analysis of Private and Government Management of Protected Areas in Africa


Patrick Hunnicutt

Patrick Hunnicutt, assistant professor of environmental science and policy at Chapman University, will speak at the first fall 2023 installment of the Environmental Institutions Seminar Series presented by the Nicholas Institute and the University Program in Environmental Policy. Students, faculty, and staff at Duke and other Triangle-area universities are invited to attend this in-person event (no virtual viewing option). This study provides the first causal evidence comparing the effectiveness of privately and publicly managed protected areas. We leverage the transfer of protected area management from governments to African Parks (AP)-the largest private manager of protected areas in Africa-to show that private management significantly improves wildlife outcomes in protected areas via reduced elephant poaching and increased bird populations. Our results also suggest that AP's management augments tourism, while the effect on local economic development is inconclusive. However, AP's management increases the risk of armed groups targeting civilians, which could be associated with AP's improved monitoring and enforcement systems. These findings highlight the intricate interplay between conservation, tourism, economic development, and security under private protected area management in Africa. SPEAKER: Patrick Hunnicutt is an assistant professor of environmental science and policy in Chapman University's Environmental Science and Policy program. His research asks whether experiencing environmental "bads" like pollution affects political behavior and how large international organizations can more effectively address local environmental problems. He investigates these questions through a combination of quasi-experimental and field-based research methods. Prior to joining Chapman University, Dr. Hunnicutt received a B.A. in environmental science and policy from Duke University and a Ph.D. in environmental science and management from the University of California, Santa Barbara's Bren School. The Environmental Institutions Seminar Series is presented by the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability (NI) and the University Program in Environmental Policy (UPEP), a doctoral degree program jointly offered by the Nicholas School of the Environment and Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.


Africa focus, Climate, Energy, Lecture/Talk, Panel/Seminar/Colloquium, Sustainability