Conservation and the triple bottom line

Incorporating equity into conservation planning

These days there’s a lot of talk about achieving triple-bottom-line outcomes. By that it’s meant that new developments have to produce good economic, environmental and social outcomes. Indeed, it’s usually implied it’s about maximising returns in all three areas – sort of aiming for win-win-win. But a recent analysis we undertook on incorporating social equity into conservation planning for marine reserves (Halpern et al. 2013) demonstrates you can’t win in all three areas at the same time – the best results for the environment can be less fair, and the only way to make them fair is to sacrifice a tight budget.

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