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Protecting forests, biodiversity, and the climate: predicting policy impact to improve policy choice

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  • Alexander Pfaff
  • Juan Robalino

Abstract

Policies must balance forest conservation’s local costs with its benefits—local to global—in terms of biodiversity, the mitigation of climate change, and other eco-services such as water quality. The trade-offs with development vary across forest locations. We argue that considering location in three ways helps to predict policy impact and improve policy choice: (i) policy impacts vary by location because baseline deforestation varies with characteristics (market distances, slopes, soils, etc.) of locations in a landscape; (ii) different mixes of political-economic pressures drive the location of different policies; and (iii) policies can trigger ‘second-order’ or ‘spillover’ effects likely to differ by location. We provide empirical evidence that suggests the importance of all three considerations, by reviewing high-quality evaluations of the impact of conservation and development on forest. Impacts of well-enforced conservation rise with private clearing pressure, supporting (i). Protection types (e.g. federal/state) differ in locations and thus in impacts, supporting (ii). Differences in development process explain different signs for spillovers, supporting (iii). Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/oxrep/grs012
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Review Of Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 28 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (Spring)
Pages: 164-179

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:28:y:2012:i:1:p:164-179

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Web page: http://oxrep.oupjournals.org/

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Cited by:
  1. Pfaff, Alexander & Robalino, Juan & Lima, Eirivelthon & Sandoval, Catalina & Herrera, Luis Diego, 2014. "Governance, Location and Avoided Deforestation from Protected Areas: Greater Restrictions Can Have Lower Impact, Due to Differences in Location," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 7-20.
  2. Alix-Garcia, Jennifer & Wolff, Hendrik, 2014. "Payment for Ecosystem Services from Forests," IZA Discussion Papers 8179, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Charles Palmer & Salvatore Di Falco, 2012. "Biodiversity, poverty, and development," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(1), pages 48-68, Spring.

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