Protected areas are a cornerstone of forest conservation in developing countries. Yet we know little about their effects on forest cover change or the socioeconomic status of local communities, and even less about the relationship between these effects. This paper assesses whether “win-win” scenarios are possible—that is, whether protected areas can both stem forest cover change and alleviate poverty. We examine protected areas in the Peruvian Amazon using high-resolution satellite images and household-level survey data for the early 2000s. To control for protected areas’ nonrandom siting, we rely on quasi-experimental (matching) methods. We find that the average protected area reduces forest cover change. We do not find a robust negative effect on local communities. Protected areas that allow sustainable extractive activities are more effective in reducing forest cover change but less effective in delivering win-win outcomes.
Working Paper — Jul 11, 2019
The Cost-Effectiveness of Satellite Earth Observations to Inform a Post-Wildfire Response
This study demonstrates the cost-effectiveness of using satellite imagery to assess burned areas and prioritize response measures after a wildfire; it shows that, by using Landsat imagery, federal agencies can save up to $7.7 million per year in post-fire costs.
Media Highlight — May 31, 2019
"Limit eased on summer ethanol sales"
RFF's Ben Leard spoke with Marketplace about how the expansion of ethanol sales can affect land use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Testimony and Public Comments — Feb 13, 2019
Testimony on the Use of Natural Infrastructure for Watershed Restoration and Water Management
Forest management can actively support water capture and storage, taking advantage of natural infrastructure to protect water sources and restore watersheds.