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Does Trade Help or Hinder the Conservation of Natural Resources?


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  • Carolyn Fischer


Trade exerts important influences on the exploitation and protection of natural resources. Indeed, recognition of this influence is codified in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which allows exceptions to treaty obligations for measures "relating to the conservation of exhaustible natural resources," motivates the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, and underlies the Convention on Biological Diversity. Trade impacts operate through several channels. Trade liberalization changes relative prices, which affects exploitation incentives. Trade can also have broader effects, such as impacts on labor markets and incomes, which may affect demand for resource-intensive products--or for ecosystem services. Trade interacts with, and can influence, the institutions governing the management of natural resources. Finally, trade can also introduce threats to ecosystems, in the form of invasive species. All of these potential impacts pose special challenges for the conservation of renewable resources, which inherently involves dynamic economic and ecological processes. This article reviews and takes stock of the lessons from the recent economics literature on the links between trade and the conservation of natural resources. Copyright 2010, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Review of Environmental Economics and Policy.

Volume (Year): 4 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 103-121

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Handle: RePEc:oup:renvpo:v:4:y:2010:i:1:p:103-121

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Cited by:
  1. de Melo, Jaime, 2012. "Trade in a'green growth'development strategy : global scale issues and challenges," Policy Research Working Paper Series, The World Bank 6236, The World Bank.
  2. Eggert, Håkan & Greaker, Mads & Kidane, Asmerom, 2012. "Trade and Resources: Welfare effects of the Lake Victoria fisheries boom," Working Papers in Economics, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics 534, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  3. Quaas, Martin F. & Stöven, Max T., 2014. "New trade in renewable resources and consumer preferences for diversity," Economics Working Papers, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics 2014-08, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
  4. Sheetal Sekhri & Paul Landefeld, 2013. "Agricultural Trade, Institutions, and Depletion of Natural Resources," Virginia Economics Online Papers, University of Virginia, Department of Economics 405, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  5. Basak Bayramoglu & Jean-François Jacques, 2012. "Fishery Resources and Trade Openness: Evidence from Turkey," Working Papers, INRA, Economie Publique 2012/02, INRA, Economie Publique.
  6. G. Cornelis van Kooten & Tim Bogle & Frans P. de Vries, 2012. "Rent Seeking and the Smoke and Mirrors Game in the Creation of Forest Sector Carbon Credits: An Example from British Columbia," Working Papers, University of Victoria, Department of Economics, Resource Economics and Policy Analysis Research Group 2012-06, University of Victoria, Department of Economics, Resource Economics and Policy Analysis Research Group.


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