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Formalizing land rights can reduce forest loss: Experimental evidence from Benin

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  • Liam Wren-Lewis

    (PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris Sciences et Lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

  • Luis Guillermo Becerra-Valbuena

    (PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris Sciences et Lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

  • Kenneth Houngbedji

    (LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement - Université Paris Dauphine-PSL - PSL - Université Paris Sciences et Lettres - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

Many countries are formalizing customary land rights systems with the aim of improving agricultural productivity and facilitating community forest management. This paper evaluates the impact on tree cover loss of the first randomized control trial of such a program. Around 70,000 landholdings were demarcated and registered in randomly chosen villages in Benin, a country with a high rate of deforestation driven by demand for agricultural land. We estimate that the program reduced the area of forest loss in treated villages, with no evidence of anticipatory deforestation or negative spillovers to other areas. Surveys indicate that possible mechanisms include an increase in tenure security and an improvement in the effectiveness of community forest management. Overall, our results suggest that formalizing customary land rights in rural areas can be an effective way to reduce forest loss while improving agricultural investments.

Suggested Citation

  • Liam Wren-Lewis & Luis Guillermo Becerra-Valbuena & Kenneth Houngbedji, 2020. "Formalizing land rights can reduce forest loss: Experimental evidence from Benin," Post-Print hal-02898187, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-02898187
    DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb6914
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.science/hal-02898187
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    Cited by:

    1. Deininger,Klaus W. & Ali,Daniel Ayalew, 2022. "How Urban Land Titling and Registry Reform Affect Land and Credit Markets : Evidencefrom Lesotho," Policy Research Working Paper Series 10043, The World Bank.
    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. Teresa Cappelli & Luca Tiberti & Elisa Ticci, 2023. "Climate, women's resilience and mediating channels in rural Benin," Working Papers - Economics wp2023_08.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
    4. Alexia Stokes & Géraldine Bocquého & Pascal Carrère & Raphaël Conde Salazar & Marc Deconchat & Léo Garcia & Antoine Gardarin & Christian Gary & Cédric Gaucherel & Mamadou Gueye & Mickael Hedde & Franç, 2023. "Services provided by multifunctional agroecosystems : Questions, obstacles and solutions," Post-Print hal-04056486, HAL.
    5. Philip J. Platts & Marije Schaafsma & R. Kerry Turner & Neil D. Burgess & Brendan Fisher & Boniface P. Mbilinyi & Pantaleo K. T. Munishi & Taylor H. Ricketts & Ruth D. Swetnam & Antje Ahrends & Biniam, 2023. "Inequitable Gains and Losses from Conservation in a Global Biodiversity Hotspot," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 86(3), pages 381-405, November.
    6. Balboni, Clare & Berman, Aaron & Burgess, Robin & Olken, Benjamin A., 2023. "The economics of tropical deforestation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 120074, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    deforestation; Community Forest Management; agricultural investments;
    All these keywords.

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