The impact of trade and macroeconomic policies on frontier deforestation

The impact of trade and macroeconomic policies on frontier deforestation

The purpose of this lecture note is to summarise different research results about the
impact of macro-level factors and “extra-sectoral” policies on tropical forest cover.
Specifically, we are interested in the forest margins – i.e. the spatial transition zone
between tropical forests and converted land uses. What are the policy factors that
accelerate frontier expansion, and which ones tend to slow it down? The main
objectives are: a. To learn how different changes related to trade and macroeconomic
policies affect the loss of frontier forests, i.e. to understand both the likely direction
and weight of these factors in influencing the speed of forest conversion; b. To
comprehend trade-offs and synergies between policies for natural-forest conservation
and those designed to promote economic development; c. To appreciate these linkages
in the light of a few micro- and macro-level examples. A key finding is that what
happens to tropical forests is more determined by events outside the forest arena than
by what happens inside the forest sector. In other words, the extra-sectoral impacts
will often be more important than, for instance, the new forest law, the participatory tree
planting project or the environmental education programme that is implemented at the
forest margins. That does not necessarily mean that forestry interventions are not
effective. What it does mean is that some macroeconomic and extra-forestry factors
tend to set the scene for success or failure of the projects and strategies of forest
margin stabilisation, so that the promoters of these strategies need to have a realistic
vision about the direction and proportions of impacts. In some cases, the macro
decision makers should also explicitly take into account how forests are affected before
they make their “extra-sectoral”, macro-level choices.

Authors: Wunder, S.; Verbist, B.

Topic: macroeconomics,deforestation,forest damage,impact,forest policy,trade,training,ICRAF Southeast Asian Regional Research Programme

Geographic: Indonesia

Series: ASB Lecture Note no. 13

Pages: 33p.

Publisher: ICRAF South East Asia, Bogor, Indonesia

Publication Year: 2003


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