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Does Economic Development Lead to Mangrove Loss? A Cross-Country Analysis

  • Edward B. Barbier
  • Mark Cox

Mangroves line one quarter of the world's tropical coastlines, and approximately 117 countries and territories have mangrove resources within their borders. Although over recent years mangrove deforestation has occurred at a phenomenal rate worldwide, there have been few economic studies of the underlying causes. The article attempts such an analysis and particularly examines the role of economic development, with specific reference to those activities that may result in mangrove deforestation, in determining the area of mangrove left within a country. The article develops a model of economic activity and mangrove conversion. From this model, a relationship is established between remaining mangrove area, economic activity, and other important causative factors. The mangrove area relationship is estimated empirically for a cross-section of 89 countries. Results show that shrimp aquaculture and agriculture are significantly associated with mangrove loss across all countries, whereas the higher the level of GDP per capita the more mangrove area remains. The number of protected areas, length of coastline and political stability were also important in determining the remaining mangrove area of a country. (JEL "O13", "Q22", "Q23", "Q24") Copyright 2003 Western Economic Association International.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Contemporary Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 21 (2003)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 418-432

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Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:21:y:2003:i:4:p:418-432
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