Logging concessions, certification and protected areas in the Peruvian Amazon: forest impacts from development rights and land-use restrictions

Scholarly Edition

Economic activities (agriculture, logging, mining) drive tropical forest loss, so balancing development and conservation involves tradeoffs – as well as synergies. Conservation policies, such as protected areas (PAs), may save more forest when they include some development rights (Pfaff et al. 2014). There is less evidence about when development policies, such as logging concessions, include some conservation restrictions. The right to log creates an incentive for private firms to defend their forest assets, although firms could raise or reduce forest loss depending upon their capacities to defend, their motivations to log and public oversight. Reduced loss may be rewarded through voluntary certification or third-party oversight of logging practices, whose impact we hypothesize depends upon firms’ logging motivations and their capacities to restrict loss. To shed empirical light, we examine forest impacts from rights and restrictions within the Peruvian Amazon during 2000-2013, removing biases using location and year effects. Compared to control forests outside of concessions and PAs, we find PAs reduce tree-cover loss − while those PAs that include development rights save more forest than strict PAs, for each region. Logging concessions reduce forest loss in Madre de Dios, yet they increase loss in Ucayali. Certification has an impact – 1% reduction in 2000-2013 forest loss − only in Madre de Dios, consistent with higher certification impacts if private firms choose to restrict loss.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rico, J; Panlasigui, S; Loucks, CJ; Swenson, J; Pfaff, A