Local and indigenous communities seem to hold the key to protecting both forests and the massive amounts of carbon that they contain — and on which we all depend. But along with that responsibility can come outsize burdens on these communities, a recent study of a development initiative tied to a large conservation project in Madagascar has found.

“Conservation might have benefits that are important to many people, but there are private costs,” said Julia Patricia Gordon Jones, a conservation scientist at Bangor University in Wales and the lead author of the study. “These costs are also felt by some of the poorest people in the world.”