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HOW MUCH DOES A RANGER COST?
The costs of an individual ranger
The costs of a ranger vary from country to country. As a rule of thumb, Adopt A Ranger targets a salary of double the minimum wage plus the compulsory social benefits in compliance with the national legislation and if necessary, an additional life insurance for the dependents. Additionally, the costs of a uniform and basic field gear.
Typically, this costs somewhere between $2,000 (€1,600) and $5,000 (€4,000) per year, depending on the country. Assuming an average 200 working days per year, a ranger costs $10 - $25 (€8 - €20) per day.
In some cases, there are financing mechanisms to match the funds raised with other funding, in which case we only need to raise $5 - $15 (€4 - €12) per day.
Depending on the recipient country, 50 - 100 people working together can finance a ranger if each makes a contribution of $50 (€40) per year.
The efficiency of financing ranger compared to other conservation efforts
A lot of conservation organizations and carbon off-set programmes invest in buying and/or leasing land to create new protected areas. That sounds great, doesn't it? But is it really? Let's take a good look.
First of all, most protected areas in developing countries have been selected for being rather special and often they are very large. The costs to manage a hectare of a large area are many times lower than of a small area. In Brazil, it costs about $60,000 per hectare per year to manage the smallest nature reserve of 2 ha, while it costs only $0.45 per ha to manage an area of 1,000,000 ha. This is because there are several costs that have to be made for every area, small or large. Moreover, the ranger density needed in small areas is much higher. So you get much more land protected by protecting large forests that belong to the government,
Buying buying land to plant a forest is not enough; after the purchase, you will have to manage and staff them. Newly planted forests need forest rangers, even in higher densities than the existing protected areas, because you have to manage the young forest. So by adding land to the pool of protected areas in a country, you just increase the need for forest rangers, but you usually don't increase natural values. Often your newly created forest actually competes with the government for funding. So while your money is being used to buy new land for conservation, officially protected land is being occupied illegally because it does not have any forest rangers. By the end of the day, the country has much and much less nature, in spite of the land purchased with your money. If that money would have been used to hire forest rangers that would protect and manage existing protected areas, your money would have protected many more hectares than you could ever have done by contributing to buying land for planting a forest.
In most countries, the nature reserves protected by the government, are among the highest priority lands for conservation still available. Many lands to be purchased by fundraising campaigns are much less important than those already protected by law. Adopt A Ranger very seriously considers the importance of the areas where it works for their conservation importance. So rangers paid from your donations will protect the best land available for conservation. In fact, Adopt A Ranger helps governments to assess which of their protected areas are the most important from a conservation point of view, using the MICOSYS programme. So YOUR money always protects the protected areas of the highest priority in the countries where we operate.
Many projects from bilateral aid programmes finance consultancies and studies to help local communities to get more benefits from protected areas. These programmes are quite important, because it is very important to involve local communities in conservation. But as those projects usually don't finance field staff, and particularly fall short in financing rangers, they end up achieving rather little. Adopt A Ranger focuses on hiring rangers, while it also helps with know-how on how to involve those rangers in assisting local communities to get economic benefits from protected areas. This is a far more durable approach than being practiced by many projects financed by development organizations.