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Reducing deforestation and forest degradation: leakage or synergy?


  • Arild Angelsen
  • Philippe Delacote


Agricultural expansion is the main deforestation driver, while forest degradation is due to non-sustainable poaching and harvesting of forest products. Policies to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) thus focus on agricultural expansion and illegal harvesting. The feedbacks between these two policy instruments are rarely discussed. Does reduced deforestation indirectly decrease or enhance forest degradation? How does better control on illegal harvesting influence deforestation? Using a simple household model, we assess the impact of a Payment for Environmental Services (PES) on both deforestation and illegal harvesting, and the impact of increasing the control on illegal harvesting on deforestation. We show that when land and labor are substitutes, both policies have positive feedbacks and win-win potential. Conversely, when production factors are complements, they have negative feedbacks and need to be taken into account by the public policies. Further, we demonstrate that the production factors can become substitutes if distance costs are high, making a win-win situation more likely.

Suggested Citation

  • Arild Angelsen & Philippe Delacote, 2013. "Reducing deforestation and forest degradation: leakage or synergy?," Working Papers 1311, Chaire Economie du climat.
  • Handle: RePEc:cec:wpaper:1311

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    Cited by:

    1. García, Jorge H. & Orlov, Anton & Aaheim, Asbjørn, 2018. "Negative leakage: The key role of forest management regimes," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 8-13.
    2. Sébastien Desbureaux & Eric Nazindigouba Kere & Pascale Combes Motel, 2016. "Impact Evaluation in a Landscape: Protected Natural Forests, Anthropized Forested Lands and Deforestation Leakages in Madagascar's Rainforests," Working Papers halshs-01342182, HAL.
    3. Pan, Wenqi & Kim, Man-Keun & Ning, Zhuo & Yang, Hongqiang, 2020. "Carbon leakage in energy/forest sectors and climate policy implications using meta-analysis," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C).
    4. Delacote, Philippe & Robinson, Elizabeth J.Z. & Roussel, Sébastien, 2016. "Deforestation, leakage and avoided deforestation policies: A spatial analysis," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 192-210.
    5. Mbatu, Richard S., 2015. "Domestic and international forest regime nexus in Cameroon: An assessment of the effectiveness of REDD+ policy design strategy in the context of the climate change regime," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 46-56.
    6. Desbureaux Sébastien & Eric Kéré Nazindigouba & Combes Motel Pascale, 2016. "Working Paper 238 - Impact Evaluation in a Landscape: protected natural forests, anthropized forested lands and deforestation leakages in Madagascar’s rainforests," Working Paper Series 2341, African Development Bank.
    7. Combes, Jean-Louis & Delacote, Philippe & Combes Motel, Pascale & Yogo, Thierry Urbain, 2018. "Public spending, credit and natural capital: Does access to capital foster deforestation?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 306-316.
    8. Aguilar-Gómez, Carlos R. & Arteaga-Reyes, Tizbe T. & Gómez-Demetrio, William & à vila-Akerberg, Víctor D. & Pérez-Campuzano, Enrique, 2020. "Differentiated payments for environmental services: A review of the literature," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 44(C).
    9. Yvonne Hargita & Lukas Giessen & Sven Günter, 2020. "Similarities and Differences between International REDD+ and Transnational Deforestation-Free Supply Chain Initiatives—A Review," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(3), pages 1-33, January.

    More about this item


    deforestation; REDD; payment for environmental services; agricultural expansion; illegal harvesting; poaching; leakage; synergies;

    JEL classification:

    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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