Gabriela Demarchi


“Scientists have the important role of identifying what works in forest conservation and emphasizing the gaps where evidence of policy effectiveness is still lacking!”


Gabriela Demarchi is interested in topics related to forest policy and economics, and she holds a degree in Forest Engineering from the Federal University of Paraná in Brazil and a Master’s degree in Economics from Montpellier SupAgro in France. 

Having grown up near a remnant of the Atlantic Forest – a forest that has already lost the equivalent of 85% of its original area to make room for agriculture and urban areas – she wonders how we can ensure forest conservation in areas where economic development relies on expanding agriculture and cattle ranching.

For her M.A. thesis, Gabriela evaluated a pilot REDD+ initiative in the Transamazon region. For her PhD thesis, she wants to go beyond the evaluation of existing programs by implementing – in the field – a new experimental Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) program based on innovative contracts. She is currently a PhD candidate affiliated with the Center for Environmental Economics in Montpellier. 


Gabriela’s research focuses on the evaluation of forest conservation policies. She is particularly interested in assessing the impacts of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes on forests and local people’s livelihoods. A question of primary importance is understanding what role PES can realistically play in avoiding deforestation.

To answer this question, she relies on observational and experimental data from surveys and satellite-based products. She also counts on recent developments in econometrics that have proven to be the most relevant for estimating the effect of policies on outcomes of interest. Gabriela often collaborates with scientists from different disciplines to better understand and quantify the program’s impacts and identify the main drivers.

She believes that we simply need to know more about what works and what doesn’t work in PES programs, and hopes that her research findings can help policymakers achieve better results, by using rigorous evidence to inform their decisions.

Gabriela Demarchi looks into Brazilian cattle ranching at a farm in Para, Brazil in October 2019.
Gabriela Demarchi looks into Brazilian cattle ranching at a farm in Para, Brazil in October 2019.