Conservation basic income : A non-market mechanism to support convivial conservation

Fletcher, Robert; Büscher, Bram


This article advances a proposal for conservation basic income (CBI) as a novel strategy for funding biodiversity conservation that moves beyond widely promoted market-based instruments (MBIs). This CBI proposal responds to two important empirical developments. The first concerns growing discussions around cash transfer programs (CTPs) and universal basic income (UBI). These are increasingly implemented or piloted yet do not usually take into account environmental issues including biodiversity conservation. The second relates to MBIs like payments for ecosystem services (PES) and REDD+ (reduced emissions through avoided deforestation and forest degradation). In practice, these programs have not only commonly failed to halt biodiversity loss and alleviate poverty but have also largely abandoned their market-based origins, leading to calls for moving beyond market-based conservation entirely. We conclude that the time is right to integrate and transcend these existing mechanisms to develop conservation basic income as part of a broader paradigm shift towards convivial conservation that foregrounds concerns for social justice and equity.