Project Tiger, a flagship programme for conservation of the tiger launched in 1973 in India has expanded over the years in terms of its geographical coverage and volume of expenditure. However, the tiger is still an endangered species in India and conservation efforts face multiple challenges like widespread loss of tiger habitat, decline in the density of prey animals, illegal poaching, humananimal conflicts and revenge killing. This study explores the trends and patterns of government expenditure over the years by reviewing the annual plan of operation of different tiger reserves and examines whether the volume or the pattern of expenditure has any relationship with performance, measured by the change in the number of tigers and occupancy in 28 tiger reserves. Analysis of the financial outlay data in the Annual Plan of Operation of the tiger reserves suggest that habitat improvement, which includes relocation, gets the highest share whereas humananimal conflict and eco-development gets the least, though more than 0.5 million households are located in and around the tiger reserves 0.3 million. Allocations are neither proportional to the size of the reserve nor to the tiger population. The relationships between expenditure categories and tiger populations are explored through a negative binomial regression model. Among the expenditure categories, expenditure on habitat improvement, excluding relocation, is found to be negatively related to tiger population whereas all other expenditures like infrastructure, protection, and human-animal conflict are positively related.
Journal of Forest Economics, Volume 35, Issue 2-3 Special issue - Natural capital and ecosystem service: Sustainable forest management and climate change: Articles Overiew
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