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Trading Forests: Quantifying the Contribution of Global Commodity Markets to Emissions from Tropical Deforestation - Working Paper 384

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  • Martin Persson, Sabine Henders, and Thomas Kastner

Abstract

This paper aims to improve our understanding of how and where global supply-chains link consumers of agricultural and forest commodities across the world to forest destruction in tropical countries. A better understanding of these linkages can help inform and support the design of demand-side interventions to reduce tropical deforestation. To that end, we map the link between deforestation for four commodities (beef, soybeans, palm oil, and wood products) in eight case countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea) to consumption, through international trade. Although few, the studied countries comprise a large share of the internationally traded volumes of the analyzed commodities: 83% of beef and 99% of soybean exports from Latin America, 97% of global palm oil exports, and roughly half of (official) tropical wood products trade. The analysis covers the period 2000-2009. We find that roughly a third of tropical deforestation and associated carbon emissions (3.9 Mha and 1.7 GtCO2) in 2009 can be attributed to our four case commodities in our eight case countries. On average a third of analyzed deforestation was embodied in agricultural exports, mainly to the EU and China. However, in all countries but Bolivia and Brazil, export markets are dominant drivers of forest clearing for our case commodities. If one excludes Brazilian beef on average 57% of deforestation attributed to our case commodities was embodied in exports. The share of emissions that was embodied in exported commodities increased between 2000 and 2009 for every country in our study except Bolivia and Malaysia.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Persson, Sabine Henders, and Thomas Kastner, 2014. "Trading Forests: Quantifying the Contribution of Global Commodity Markets to Emissions from Tropical Deforestation - Working Paper 384," Working Papers 384, Center for Global Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:384
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    Cited by:

    1. Anne-Kathrin Weber & Lena Partzsch, 2018. "Barking Up the Right Tree? NGOs and Corporate Power for Deforestation-Free Supply Chains," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(11), pages 1-18, October.
    2. da Silva, Ramon Felipe Bicudo & Batistella, Mateus & Palmieri, Roberto & Dou, Yue & Millington, James D.A., 2019. "Eco-certification protocols as mechanisms to foster sustainable environmental practices in telecoupled systems," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 52-63.
    3. Anne-Kathrin Weber, 2018. "The revival of the Honourable Merchant? Analysing private forest governance at firm level," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 619-634, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Climate change; Forests; REDD+; Commodities; Commodity supply chains; Energy; Food; Agriculture.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • L73 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Forest Products
    • Q02 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Commodity Market
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade

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