Cisneros Tersitsch, Marco Elías: The Impact of Public Policies on Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. - Bonn, 2017. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
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author = {{Marco Elías Cisneros Tersitsch}},
title = {The Impact of Public Policies on Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2017,
month = jul,

note = {Between 2000 and 2012, 2.3m sq. kilometers of tree cover, equivalent to 6.4 times the size of Germany, were lost globally due to land cover change. Forest loss often comes with significant social and environmental costs. Deforestation contributes 12% - 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions, reduces biodiversity and threatens traditional livelihoods.
Forest conservation policies have shown mixed results worldwide. The success of instruments depends on both their policy design and the context to which they are applied. Even well designed policies can fail to avoid deforestation, when the bio-physical, socio-economic, and the political context are overlooked. This thesis investigates the role of the political context as a potential inhibitor or facilitator of forest conservation in Brazil.
Brazil is an ideal case to study the political economy of forest conservation. During the 2000s the country introduced a substantial forest conservation reform and deforestation rates subsequently fell by 80%. The realized policy-mix included different disincentive and incentive components. Effective measures include the expansion of protected areas, the increase in field-based environmental law enforcement, fines and credit restrictions to environmental offenders.
To understand the role of the political sector, this thesis analyzes three Brazilian forest conservation policies that address the political context and the environmental governance at the local level: An anti-corruption policy targeting districts’ administrational responsibilities, though leaving environmental performance uncontrolled; a naming and shaming policy targeting districts with high deforestation rates; and an incentive-based payments for environmental services program combined with forest friendly investments to residents in protected areas.
Impacts and the mechanism through which these polices effect environmental outcomes are analyzed with a combination of spatial data processing techniques and quasi-experimental methods. High resolution satellite data is used to construct yearly outcomes on forest losses, degradation, and fires. Spatial matching and panel data estimations allow to control for selection biases and potential leakage effects.
The analysis of the anti-corruption policy reveals a robust relation between corruption and deforestation, though no effect from publishing the corruption findings. A very high reduction in deforestation rates is caused by the naming and shaming policy. This effect can be explained by an reputational risk effect that caused stakeholders to form conservation alliances. The payment for environmental services program had no sizable effects on forest cover. The missing effects can best be explained with the imperfect policy designs at hand. Whereas the high conservation impact of the naming and shaming policy stands as an example of how to shape political contexts towards better environmental governance.
Given a reasonably well functioning institutions and enforcement system as in Brazil during the study period, complementary contextualized polices can remove potential inhibitors to conservation and motivate actors to create new conservation incentives. In addition, immediate effects are best achieved when targeting regions with high deforestation pressures, if evasive behavior of targeted actors is monitored at the same time.},

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