Benedicto-Royuela, J., Hervías-Parejo, S., de la Cruz, A., Geraldes, P., Costa, L.T. & Gil, A. (2019) The socio-economic impact of conservation: the Safe Islands for Seabirds LIFE project.Oryx, 53, 109-116. DOI:10.1017/S0030605317000205 (IF2017 2,333; Q2 Biodiversity Conservation)
Using the Safe Islands for Seabirds LIFE project as a case study, we assessed the socio-economic impact of a nature conservation project on the local community, focusing on the wealth created and the jobs supported directly and indirectly by the project. The Safe Islands for Seabirds project took place during 2009–2012, mainly on Corvo Island, the smallest and least populated island of Portugal's Azores Archipelago. To assess the impact of the project we used a combination of methods to analyse the project expenditure, the jobs created directly as a result of it, and, by means of multipliers, the incomes and jobs it supported indirectly. We estimate that during 2009–2012 direct expenditure of EUR 344,212.50 from the project increased the gross domestic product of the Azorean region by EUR 206,527.50. Apart from the 4.5 jobs created directly by the project, it also supported indirectly the equivalent of 1.5–2.5 full-time jobs. The project also provided the opportunity to preserve and promote natural amenities important for the quality of life of the local community. Our findings show that a nature conservation project can have positive economic impacts, and we recommend the creation of a standardized tool to calculate in a straightforward but accurate manner the socio-economic impacts of conservation projects. We also highlight the need to design projects that support local economies.