Katharine Sims is an associate professor of Economics at Amherst College
Global climate mitigation agreements include substantial funding for avoided deforestation and forest degradation. But can countries protect forests in a way that is environmentally effective without harming local economic development? New work forthcoming in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management evaluates the top two mechanisms for forest protection–parks and payments for ecosystem services–in Mexico in the last decade. The study finds good news: both direct and incentive-based conservation generated substantial avoided deforestation and neither harmed local livelihoods. Yet the study challenges the idea that incentive-based conservation is more cost effective, finding that both policies protected a similar mix of high and low opportunity cost land. Read more at the Center for International Forestry Research blog in either English or Spanish.