Pressure cookers or pressure valves: Do roads lead to deforestation in China?
The effect of roads on forests is ambiguous. Many studies conclude that building and upgrading roads increases pressure on forests but some find that new and better roads may reduce the rate of deforestation. In this paper we use satellite remote sensing images of forest cover in Jiangxi Province, China, to test whether the existence and the size of roads (ranging from expressways to tertiary roads) in 1995 affected the level of forest cover in 2000 or the rate of change between 1995 and 2000. To account for road access for each of our 1 km2 ("pixel") units of forest cover we measure whether or not and what type of roads penetrate the "watershed" in which the pixel lies. These watersheds allow more plausible measures of accessibility than do traditional "crowfly" distance measures that ignore topography. To account for possible confounding we also use 12 additional covariates: geographic and climatic variables (e.g., elevation, slope, rainfall, temperature, soil properties); demographic and economic variables (e.g., local population and GDP per square kilometer); and distance variables (e.g., distance to the nearest provincial capital). Although simple univariate OLS regressions show that forest levels are lower and deforestation rates higher either when there is a road, or when there is a higher quality road, these results are not robust. Controlling for all of the covariates and also using recently developed covariate matching techniques to estimate treatment effects, we find that roads in China's Jiangxi Province can most safely be described as having no impact on the level of forests and no impact on the rate of deforestation.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Black, Dan A. & Smith, J.A.Jeffrey A., 2004.
"How robust is the evidence on the effects of college quality? Evidence from matching,"
Journal of Econometrics,
Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 99-124.
- Dan A. Black & Jeffrey Smith, 2003. "How Robust is the Evidence on the Effects of College Quality? Evidence From Matching," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20033, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
- Chomitz, Kenneth M & Gray, David A, 1996. "Roads, Land Use, and Deforestation: A Spatial Model Applied to Belize," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 487-512, September.
- Luc Anselin, 2001. "Spatial Effects in Econometric Practice in Environmental and Resource Economics," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(3), pages 705-710.
- Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity Score-Matching Methods For Nonexperimental Causal Studies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 151-161, February.
- Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Propensity Score Matching Methods for Non-experimental Causal Studies," NBER Working Papers 6829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Zwane, Alix Peterson, 2007. "Does poverty constrain deforestation? Econometric evidence from Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 330-349, September.
- Gerald C. Nelson & Daniel Hellerstein, 1997. "Do Roads Cause Deforestation? Using Satellite Images in Econometric Analysis of Land Use," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(1), pages 80-88.
- Nelson, Gerald & Hellerstein, Daniel, 1997. "Do roads cause deforestation? Using satellite images in econometric analysis of land use," MPRA Paper 25261, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Sato, Yasuhiro & Yamamoto, Kazuhiro, 2005. "Population concentration, urbanization, and demographic transition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 45-61, July.
- Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2008. "On the Failure of the Bootstrap for Matching Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1537-1557, November.
- Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "On the Failure of the Bootstrap for Matching Estimators," NBER Technical Working Papers 0325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Imbens, Guido & Abadie, Alberto, 2008. "On the Failure of the Bootstrap for Matching Estimators," Scholarly Articles 3043415, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Pfaff, Alexander S. P., 1999. "What Drives Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon?: Evidence from Satellite and Socioeconomic Data," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 26-43, January.
- Zhao, Zhong, 2008. "Sensitivity of propensity score methods to the specifications," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 98(3), pages 309-319, March.
- Zhao, Zhong, 2005. "Sensitivity of Propensity Score Methods to the Specifications," IZA Discussion Papers 1873, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Doll, Christopher N.H. & Muller, Jan-Peter & Morley, Jeremy G., 2006. "Mapping regional economic activity from night-time light satellite imagery," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 75-92, April.
- Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Large Sample Properties of Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 235-267, 01.
- Maureen Cropper & Jyotsna Puri & Charles Griffiths, 2001. "Predicting the Location of Deforestation: The Role of Roads and Protected Areas in North Thailand," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 77(2), pages 172-186. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)