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The economic costs of avoided deforestation in the developing world: A meta-analysis


  • Dang Phan, Thu-Ha
  • Brouwer, Roy
  • Davidson, Marc


This meta-analysis aims to identify the key factors governing the economic costs of avoided deforestation in developing countries. To this end, data were collected from 32 primary studies published between 1995 and 2012, yielding 277 observations. Results show that unit costs depend significantly on cost features like estimation methodology, inclusion or exclusion of cost components, carbon accounting method, area size, alternative land uses and beneficiaries, time horizon, and the continent in which the forest protection scheme is implemented, but also factors like the share of agriculture in a nation's economy play a significant role in explaining unit costs. In future studies, greater attention needs to be paid to additional cost components like transaction costs and the presence of the co-benefits of avoided deforestation.

Suggested Citation

  • Dang Phan, Thu-Ha & Brouwer, Roy & Davidson, Marc, 2014. "The economic costs of avoided deforestation in the developing world: A meta-analysis," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 1-16.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:foreco:v:20:y:2014:i:1:p:1-16
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfe.2013.06.004

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    Cited by:

    1. Cho, Seong-Hoon & Lee, Juhee & Roberts, Roland & Yu, Edward T. & Armsworth, Paul R., 2018. "Impact of market conditions on the effectiveness of payments for forest-based carbon sequestration," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 33-42.
    2. Ovando, Paola & Brouwer, Roy, 2019. "A review of economic approaches modeling the complex interactions between forest management and watershed services," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 164-176.
    3. Regan, Courtney M. & Connor, Jeffery D. & Summers, David M. & Settre, Claire & O’Connor, Patrick J. & Cavagnaro, Timothy R., 2020. "The influence of crediting and permanence periods on Australian forest-based carbon offset supply," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(C).
    4. Brander, L.M. & Tankha, S. & Sovann, C. & Sanadiradze, G. & Zazanashvili, N. & Kharazishvili, D. & Memiadze, N. & Osepashvili, I. & Beruchashvili, G. & Arobelidze, N., 2018. "Mapping the economic value of landslide regulation by forests," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 32(PA), pages 101-109.
    5. Yang, Hongqiang & Li, Xi, 2018. "Potential variation in opportunity cost estimates for REDD+ and its causes," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 138-146.
    6. Cecilia Luttrell & Erin Sills & Riza Aryani & Andini Desita Ekaputri & Maria Febe Evinke, 2018. "Beyond opportunity costs: who bears the implementation costs of reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation?," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 291-310, February.
    7. Rakatama, Ari & Pandit, Ram & Ma, Chunbo & Iftekhar, Sayed, 2017. "The costs and benefits of REDD+: A review of the literature," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 103-111.
    8. Gren, Ing-Marie & Zeleke, Abenezer Aklilu, 2016. "Policy design for forest carbon sequestration: A review of the literature," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 128-136.
    9. Ickowitz, Amy & Sills, Erin & de Sassi, Claudio, 2017. "Estimating Smallholder Opportunity Costs of REDD+: A Pantropical Analysis from Households to Carbon and Back," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 15-26.
    10. Cunha, Felipe Arias Fogliano de Souza & Börner, Jan & Wunder, Sven & Cosenza, Carlos Alberto Nunes & Lucena, André F.P., 2016. "The implementation costs of forest conservation policies in Brazil," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 209-220.
    11. Robin Matthews & Meine Noordwijk & Eric Lambin & Patrick Meyfroidt & Joyeeta Gupta & Louis Verchot & Kristell Hergoualc’h & Edzo Veldkamp, 2014. "Implementing REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation): evidence on governance, evaluation and impacts from the REDD-ALERT project," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 19(6), pages 907-925, August.
    12. Neudert, Regina & Olschofsky, Konstantin & Kübler, Daniel & Prill, Laura & Köhl, Michael & Wätzold, Frank, 2018. "Opportunity costs of conserving a dry tropical forest under REDD+: The case of the spiny dry forest in southwestern Madagascar," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 102-114.
    13. West, Thales A.P. & Grogan, Kelly A. & Swisher, Marilyn E. & Caviglia-Harris, Jill L. & Sills, Erin O. & Roberts, Dar A. & Harris, Daniel & Putz, Francis E., 2018. "Impacts of REDD+ payments on a coupled human-natural system in Amazonia," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 33(PA), pages 68-76.

    More about this item


    Avoided deforestation; Opportunity costs; RED; Carbon storage; Climate change mitigation; Meta-analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry


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