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Crop Prices and Deforestation in the Tropics

Author

Listed:
  • Nicolas Berman

    (Aix Marseille Univ., CNRS, AMSE, Marseille, France, and CEPR)

  • Mathieu Couttenier

    (ENS de Lyon & CEPR)

  • Antoine Leblois

    (CEE-M, Univ. Montpellier, CNRS, INRAE, Institut Agro, Montpellier, France)

  • Raphaël Soubeyran

    (CEE-M, Univ. Montpellier, CNRS, INRAE, Institut Agro, Montpellier, France)

Abstract

Global food demand is rising, driven by a growing world population and dietary changes in developing countries. This situation encourages farmers to increase crop production which, in turn, increases worldwide demand for agricultural land and the pressure on tropical forests. Given the probability that growth in world food demand will continue, this pressure is not likely to abate in coming decades. While the impact of food demand on deforestation has been in the headlines, rigorous evidence of the relationship between international crop prices and deforestation using large-N data remains scarce. We attempt to quantify this link during the twenty-first century using high-resolution annual forest loss data for tropical regions, combined with information on crop-specific agricultural suitability and annual global commodity prices. We find that price variation has a sizable impact on deforestation: crop price increases are estimated tobe responsible for a third of the total deforested area in the tropics (approx. 2 million km2) during the period 2001-2018. We also find that the degree of openness to international trade and level of economic development are first-order local characteristics affecting the magnitude of the impact of crop prices on deforestation.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Berman & Mathieu Couttenier & Antoine Leblois & Raphaël Soubeyran, 2022. "Crop Prices and Deforestation in the Tropics," Working Papers 2022.08, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:fae:wpaper:2022.08
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    2. Berman, Nicolas & Couttenier, Mathieu & Leblois, Antoine & Soubeyran, Raphael, 2023. "Crop prices and deforestation in the tropics," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 119(C).
    3. Toke S. Aidt & Facundo Albornoz & Esther Hauk, 2024. "To Cut or not to Cut: Deforestation Policy under the Shadow of Foreign Influence," Working Papers 1441, Barcelona School of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Deforestation; Food demand;

    JEL classification:

    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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