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Beneath the Canopy: Tropical Forests Enrolled in Conservation Payments Reveal Evidence of Less Degradation

Phillip M. Mohebalian and Francisco X. Aguilar

Ecological Economics, 2018, vol. 143, issue C, 64-73

Abstract: Assessments of programs offering payments for forest conservation have largely focused on their contribution to avoiding deforestation but have overlooked degradation. We integrated remotely-sensed forest cover images, georeferenced landscape information, field-level forest inventories and face-to-face landowner surveys to quantify avoided deforestation and degradation within the context of Ecuador's Socio Bosque Program (PSB). We found the PSB prevented 9% of enrolled forest area in Ecuador's Amazon Basin from being deforested over the 2008–2014 period. This value is higher than previous assessments conducted in other Latin American nations. Inventory data suggest that forests within PSB-enrolled areas exhibited less evidence of degradation although statistical differences were only marginally significant. On average, PSB-enrolled forests had between one and two more tree species per hectare than non-enrolled forests. These additional tree species were twice as likely to be of commercial timber value and at greater threat of extinction.

Keywords: Tropical forest conservation; Programa Socio Bosque; Additionality; Deforestation; Forest degradation; Impact Evaluation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:143:y:2018:i:c:p:64-73