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.
Allen Blackman is a Nonresident Fellow at RFF, whose work on industrial pollution control analyzes public disclosure programs, economic incentive instruments, and voluntary regulation.
Conferences & Panels — Sep 1, 2020
Stanford Global Carbon Management Workshop
An invitation-only workshop exploring opportunities for global carbon management research
Press Release — Jun 19, 2020
Forests Can Be Powerful Climate Solutions—but Not without Risks
A new paper in Science finds policymakers must understand the threats forests face, or risk turning a powerful carbon sink into a carbon source.
RFF Live — Jun 9, 2020
Managing Forests for Climate Mitigation—from Theory to Practice
An in-depth conversation on the practicalities of implementing natural climate solutions through forest management