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Forest cover change in space and time : combining the von Thunen and forest transition theories

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  • Angelsen, Arild
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    Abstract

    This paper presents a framework for analyzing tropical deforestation and reforestation using the von Thunen model as its starting point: land is allocated to the use which yields the highest rent, and the rents of various land uses are determined by location. Forest cover change therefore becomes a question of changes in rent of forest versus non-forest use. While this is a simple and powerful starting point, more intriguing issues arise when this is applied to analyze real cases. An initial shift in the rent of one particular land use generates feedbacks which affect the rent of all land uses. For example, a new technology in extensive agriculture should make this land use more profitable and lead to more forest clearing, but general equilibrium effects (changes in prices and local wages) can modify or even reverse this conclusion. Another issue is how a policy change or a shift in broader market, technological, and institutional forces will affect various land use rents. The paper deals with three such areas: technological progress in agriculture, land tenure regimes, and community forest management. The second part of the paper links the von Thunen framework to the forest transition theory. The forest transition theory describes a sequence over time where a forested region goes through a period of deforestation before the forest cover eventually stabilizes and starts to increase. This sequence can be seen as a systematic pattern of change in the agricultural and forest land rents over time. Increasing agricultural rent leads to high rates of deforestation. The slow-down of deforestation and eventual reforestation is due to lower agricultural rents (the economic development path) and higher forest rent (the forest scarcity path). Various forces leading to these changes are discussed and supported by empirical evidence from different tropical regions.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4117.

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    Date of creation: 01 Feb 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4117

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    Keywords: Environmental Economics&Policies; Forestry; Common Property Resource Development; Economic Theory&Research; Markets and Market Access;

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    1. Soest, Daan P. Van & Bulte, Erwin H. & Angelsen, Arild & Kooten, G. Cornelis van, 2002. "Technological change and tropical deforestation: a perspective at the household level," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 269-280, May.
    2. Otsuka, Keijiro & Place, Frank, 2001. "Land tenure and natural resource management," Food policy statements 34, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Scrieciu, S. Serban, 2007. "Can economic causes of tropical deforestation be identified at a global level?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3-4), pages 603-612, May.
    4. Markus Goldstein & Christopher Udry, 2008. "The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 981-1022, December.
    5. Angelsen, Arild & Kaimowitz, David, 1999. "Rethinking the Causes of Deforestation: Lessons from Economic Models," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 73-98, February.
    6. Linwood H. Pendleton & E. Lance Howe, 2002. "Market Integration, Development, and Smallholder Forest Clearance," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 78(1), pages 1-19.
    7. Alston, Lee J. & Libecap, Gary D. & Mueller, Bernardo, 2000. "Land Reform Policies, the Sources of Violent Conflict, and Implications for Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 162-188, March.
    8. Schneider, R-R, 1995. "Government and the Economy on the Amazon Frontier," Papers 11, World Bank - The World Bank Environment Paper.
    9. IAN COXHEAD & Agnes Rola, 1999. "Do National Markets and Price Policies Affect Land Use at the Forest Margin? Evidence from the Philippines," Wisconsin-Madison Agricultural and Applied Economics Staff Papers 426, Wisconsin-Madison Agricultural and Applied Economics Department.
    10. Andrea Cattaneo, 2001. "Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon: Comparing the Impacts of Macroeconomic Shocks, Land Tenure, and Technological Change," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 77(2), pages 219-240.
    11. Henk Folmer & G. Cornelis van Kooten, 2006. "Deforestation," Working Papers 2006-06, University of Victoria, Department of Economics, Resource Economics and Policy Analysis Research Group.
    12. Soest, D.P. van, 1998. "Tropical Deforestation: An Economic Perspective," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-78945, Tilburg University.
    13. Andrew D. Foster & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2003. "Economic Growth And The Rise Of Forests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 601-637, May.
    14. von Amsberg, Joachim, 1998. "Economic Parameters of Deforestation," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(1), pages 133-53, January.
    15. Angelsen, Arild, 1999. "Agricultural expansion and deforestation: modelling the impact of population, market forces and property rights," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 185-218, February.
    16. Sergio Margulis, 2004. "Causes of Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15060, October.
    17. Alston, Lee J. & Libecap, Gary D. & Mueller, Bernardo, 1999. "A model of rural conflict: violence and land reform policy in Brazil," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 135-160, May.
    18. Jumbe, Charles B.L. & Angelsen, Arild, 2007. "Forest dependence and participation in CPR management: Empirical evidence from forest co-management in Malawi," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3-4), pages 661-672, May.
    19. Vosti, Stephen A. & Witcover, Julie & Carpentier, Chantal Line, 2002. "Agricultural intensification by smallholders in the Western Brazilian Amazon: from deforestation to sustainable land use," Research reports 130, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    20. Agrawal, Arun, 2001. "Common Property Institutions and Sustainable Governance of Resources," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(10), pages 1649-1672, October.
    21. Shively, Gerald E., 2006. "Externalities and labour market linkages in a dynamic two-sector model of tropical agriculture," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 59-75, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Claudio ARAUJO & Catherine ARAUJO BONJEAN & Jean-Louis COMBES & Pascale COMBES MOTEL & Eustaquio J. REIS, 2008. "Property rights and deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon," Working Papers 200820, CERDI.
    2. Minetos, Dionysios & Polyzos, Serafeim, 2010. "Deforestation processes in Greece: A spatial analysis by using an ordinal regression model," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(6), pages 457-472, July.

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