Protecting forests, biodiversity, and the climate: Predicting policy impact to improve policy choice

Journal Article

Policies must balance forest conservation's local costs with its benefits-local to global-in terms of biodiversity, the mitigation of climate change, and other eco-services such as water quality. The trade-offs with development vary across forest locations. We argue that considering location in three ways helps to predict policy impact and improve policy choice: (i) policy impacts vary by location because baseline deforestation varies with characteristics (market distances, slopes, soils, etc.) of locations in a landscape; (ii) different mixes of political-economic pressures drive the location of different policies; and (iii) policies can trigger 'second-order' or 'spillover' effects likely to differ by location. We provide empirical evidence that suggests the importance of all three considerations, by reviewing high-quality evaluations of the impact of conservation and development on forest. Impacts of well-enforced conservation rise with private clearing pressure, supporting (i). Protection types (e.g. federal/state) differ in locations and thus in impacts, supporting (ii). Differences in development process explain different signs for spillovers, supporting (iii). © The Authors 2012. Published by Oxford University Press.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pfaff, A; Robalino, J

Published Date

  • 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 28 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 164 - 179

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0266-903X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/oxrep/grs012