Discussion Paper

Macroeconomics and Forest Sustainability in the Developing World

Dec 5, 2005 | Roger A. Sedjo

Abstract

Governments often use fiscal, exchange rate, monetary policy as well as export promotion tax increases, privatization, and land reform as part of comprehensive adjustments packages for addressing economic imbalances, balance of payments, and structural weaknesses. Such approaches, however, have come under heavy criticism for failing to recognize the social and environmental costs associated with them. Critics have argued that economic growth, trade liberalization, and increased primary product exports increase pressure on many sectors, including the agricultural and forestry land use sectors. This paper examines a number of these types of external shocks. This paper makes two arguments. First, from a theoretical economic perspective, although in many cases structural adjustment programs can be expected to affect the domestic forest sector, in other cases they will not. Second, even when there is an impact on the forest, it need not be detrimental to environmental and ecosystem values. A sustainable forest system needs to provide wood, local environmental products and services, and global ecological services, but individual forests can specialize in some of these.