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p4ges - Can Paying 4 Global Ecosystem Services reduce poverty?

Paper published by PhD student linked to the p4ges project



Ranaivo Rasolofoson has published this paper looking at the effectiveness of Community Forest Management(CFM) at reducing deforestation in Madagascar

CFM has been widely promoted in the tropics as a mechanism of reducing deforestation. However despite wide application and many promoters, the evidence for positive impacts is very weak. One challenge is the lack of central data base on where CFM has been attempted, another is that comparing areas under CFM and areas not under CFM is not sufficient as confounding variables (eg systematic differences between areas managed in different ways) make it hard to unpick the true impacts of CFM.

Ranaivo Rasolofoson, a PhD student at the University of Copenhagen and Bangor University, with p4ges PI, Julia Jones, and colleagues from the United States, has brought together disparate data on the implementation of CFM in Madagascar and used state of the art statistical matching to carry out a robust analysis account for confounding variables.

If all CFM are included in the analysis, there is no discernible impact on deforestation. However where the analysis focused on 4 regions for which there is better data (and CFM can be separated into whether they allow commercial forestry or not), then there is evidence that those CFM not allowing commercial forestry have had a positive impact (while those not allowing it have had a negative impact).

We have to be careful about interpretation of course (as highlighted in the paper) as the differences in success between these two types of CFM detected in the paper may not be driven by those differences (ie allowing commercial exploitation or not) but other factors (such as level of investment, institutional differences of implementation) may be the cause as these differences couldn't be accounted in the analysis.

Ranaivo's paper, published in Biological Conservation, is an important paper relevant to all those interested in the effectiveness of different approaches to slowing deforestation in the tropics.

The paper can be downloaded here.


Date: 25 February 2015