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close this bookThe Improvement of Tropical and Subtropical Rangelands (BOSTID)
close this folderPart I
close this folderCriteria for plant selection
View the documentProject planning
View the documentSocioeconomic and management considerations in feasibility studies
View the documentAdaptation to ecoclimatic conditions
View the documentAdaptation to soils
View the documentAdaptation to physiography, geomorphology, topography, slope, and aspect
View the documentAbility of introduced species to compete with native vegetation
View the documentUse regimes
View the documentAvailability of seeds and plant materials
View the documentMaintenance of biological diversity
View the documentPlant improvement
View the documentReferences

Socioeconomic and management considerations in feasibility studies

Large-scale projects should be the subject of feasibility studies clarifying the cost-benefit ratios of the proposed undertaking. Such studies, however, should depart from conventional economic analysis to the extent that social values, informal-sector economics, "the cost of doing nothing," and other factors that might affect project relevance and success are taken into consideration. Unfortunately, this broader approach to project definition is seldom employed in part because some benefits are not easy to quantify - particularly in amenity projects, in watershedmanagement projects, or in erosion control and anti-desertification projects. Social returns (such as reduced air or water pollution, recreation, and improved quality of life), although real and significant, are similarly difficult to quantify in monetary terms, but should nevertheless be factored into the planning equation.

Feasibility studies should also include management assessments. In fact, a general and mandatory rule should apply to all proposed revegetation projects: no project should be undertaken unless provision has been made for subsequent long-term management, with appropriate legal sanction and financial requirements that are acceptable to the land users. The infringement of this rule has resulted in general failures in the past - yet it continues to be ignored, despite the common sense of properly managing rangelands after expensive revegetation. Particular attention should be paid to the cost of protection and maintenance of revegetated areas. Studies have shown, for examples, that the cost of fencing and guarding is an overriding factor in cost-benefit analysis (de Montgolfier-Kouevi and Le Houu, 1980). Another major constraint to successful revegetation is the difficulty of finding an alternative source of income for the populations concerned from the time that the projects are initiated until the time that they are fully productive.