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Impacts of REDD+ payments on a coupled human-natural system in Amazonia

Thales A.P. West, Kelly A. Grogan, Marilyn E. Swisher, Caviglia-Harris, Jill L., Erin O. Sills, Dar A. Roberts, Daniel Harris and Francis E. Putz

Ecosystem Services, 2018, vol. 33, issue PA, 68-76

Abstract: We used a hybrid optimization-agent-based model to simulate REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in combination with conservation, sustainable forest management, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) payment scenarios to farm households in the old deforestation frontier of Rondônia, Brazil. Payments varied from $5 to $30 per ton of net CO2 either not emitted or removed from the atmosphere relative to a baseline scenario. The impacts of REDD+ were assessed as changes in land use/cover, net CO2 emissions, program costs, community welfare, and agricultural production. Our results suggest that interventions aimed at zero gross deforestation would require unrealistically large annual disbursements. In contrast, zero net carbon emissions can be achieved at approximately two-thirds the cost with reduced impacts on food production. Overall, simulated payments increased inequality among households, which conflicts with desired REDD+ outcomes. Results suggest that REDD+ might be more successful solely as a climate change mitigation mechanism as opposed to a complex multi-objective development program.

Keywords: Payments for environmental services; Land-use/cover change modeling; Agent-based modeling; Natural resource economics; Deforestation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoser:v:33:y:2018:i:pa:p:68-76