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Land Use Change, Carbon Sequestration and Poverty Alleviation


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  • Leslie Lipper

    (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization)

  • Romina Cavatassi

    (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization)


Land use change is a key requirement for improving rural incomes and making a significant reduction in poverty levels globally. Over 70% of the world’s poor are located in rural areas, with land use as a major source of subsistence. Improving the productivity of their land use systems is essential for increasing incomes and food security among them. Land use change is also a relatively low cost and rapidly implementable means of climate change mitigation. To the extent that the land use changes required for poverty alleviation coincide with that required for carbon sequestration, significant synergies can be harnessed in meeting both objectives. Estimates of predicted supply costs and demand prices indicate that several types of land use change appropriate for small and low income landusers will be a competitive source of emission reduction credits, although again there is considerable uncertainty in the final form of the market. However, even where there is significant potential for sequestration payments to contribute to poverty alleviation, considerable effort will be required to move from the objectives to the reality. In some cases this may be made through the structure of carbon sequestration payment programs, to address the investment and insurance needs of poor producers and provide adequate incentives for participation. In other cases larger institutional and policy reforms may be necessary in order to create the conditions necessary for poor landusers to benefit from carbon sequestration payments.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA) in its series Working Papers with number 03-13.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fao:wpaper:0313

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Related research

Keywords: Agrarian reform; Carbon cycle; Climatic change; Incentives; Income; Innovation adoption; Land; Land administration; Land economics; Land management; Land ownership; Land policies; Land use; Poverty; Rural development; Rural population; Subsistence farming; Carbon Sequestration; Land Use; Land Use Change; Poverty Alleviation; Technology Adoption;

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Cited by:
  1. David Zilberman & Leslie Lipper & Nancy McCarthy, 2006. "Putting Payments for Environmental Services in the Context of Economic Development," Working Papers 06-15, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
  2. Oscar Cacho & Leslie Lipper, 2006. "Abatement and Transaction Costs of Carbon-Sink Projects Involving Smallholders," Working Papers 06-13, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
  3. World Agroforestry centre, 2010. "Pro-poor compensation and rewards for environmental services in the tropics: saving the commons in Asia, Africa and Latin America?," Working Papers b16863, World Agroforestry Centre, Library Department.
  4. Fasse, Anja & Grote, Ulrike, 2012. "Sufficiency and Sustainability of Agroforestry: What Matters: Today or Tomorrow?," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126666, International Association of Agricultural Economists.


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