From Brownfields to Rangelands: Assessing and Attributing Impact

Impact Evaluation of the Brownfields Grants Program

Kevin Haninger, EPA

In an effort to better understand and demonstrate program benefits, EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) is conducting a national evaluation of the socioeconomic impacts of the Brownfields Program. Using a quasi-experimental design, as well as panel methods to control for unobserved heterogeneity, we are attempting to estimate the effects of Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grants by comparing socioeconomic changes in neighborhoods near properties that received this funding with a control group of neighborhoods near properties that applied for this funding but did not receive it. The session will review our efforts to analyze primary and secondary data on several socioeconomic indicators of interest, with an initial focus on estimating an econometric model of changes in local property values that can be attributed to receipt of Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grants.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Community Conservation in Northern Kenya

Louise Glew, World Wildlife Fund

The existence of a linkage between biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation is contested and the long-standing debate about whether it is possible to achieve “win-win” solutions has progressed little in the absence of empirical evidence. The Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), an expanding conservancy network in Kenya, facilitates pastoralists to derive poverty alleviation from biodiversity by establishing community institutions. To measure the impact of NRT’s efforts, a matched comparison evaluation examined livelihood and ecological outcomes using participatory techniques. Pastoralist livelihoods benefit from conservation through public service provision, transport and security. However, socioeconomic outcomes are complex, varying across different metrics of livelihood, geographic location, as well as individual household demographic and economic characteristics. Evidence from local informants and existing datasets suggests that conservation targets are subject to fewer threats inside NRT areas than non-conserved areas; and that some key species are expanding either in number or range. Other species continue to decline landscape wide. These findings suggest that the current conceptualization of the biodiversity-poverty linkage may be too simple, even at the scale of the individual project. Developing an evaluation framework which recognizes complex outcomes patterns is critical if evaluation is to play a central role in building evidence-based conservation practice.

Presentation Materials

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