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Deforestation:. Why it happens and what to do about it John Hudson, DFID UNFCC Workshop on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries Rome, 30 August to 1 September 2006. The presentation…. Deforestation is not new It is complicated – many causes and interrelationships

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Deforestation:

Why it happens and what to do about it

John Hudson, DFID

UNFCC Workshop on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries

Rome, 30 August to 1 September 2006


The presentation…

  • Deforestation is not new

  • It is complicated – many causes and interrelationships

  • Some specific examples

  • What to do?


It’s not new

  • Changes in nature and extent of forests are not new

  • Forests have ebbed and flowed during recorded and geological history

  • It is the speed of change in some countries that is new

  • As natural forests decline, managed forests, plantations and trees on farms replace them (see next slide)


Changes in quality and quantity of forests over time


Many causes…

  • Direct causes – e.g. shifting agriculture, commercial agriculture, plantations, infrastructure

  • Underlying causes – e.g. poverty; population pressure; market and policy distortions; insecure/unclear tenure, failures of governance

  • Predisposing factors – biophysical characteristics, social upheavals


Some crude generalisations

  • More people, less forest, but…

  • Higher per capita income, greater deforestation, but…

  • Higher farm prices (trade liberalisation, subsidies, devaluations) increase deforestation

  • Higher off-farm employment and higher wages decrease deforestation


More generalisations…

  • Greater access (more roads) increases deforestation

  • Mixed evidence about logging – but excess processing capacity drives over-harvesting

  • Deforestation is greater in open access regimes – property rights matter


Some specific examples: Indonesia

  • 24% of forest cover (28 m ha) lost 1990-2005

  • Direct causes: logging (much illegal); conversion to oil palm, timber and coffee (planned & spontaneous); small scale agriculture; fire associated with land conversion

  • Underlying causes: population pressure and transmigration policy; contested land tenure; corruption; demand for timber and excess processing capacity; failures of capital markets (no due diligence); competition for power following decentralisation.


Some specific examples: Brazil

  • 26,000 km2 of Brazilian Amazon lost last year

  • Direct causes: conversion to agriculture (pasture, soya); colonisation and subsistence agriculture;

  • Underlying causes: demand for commodities (beef, soya); unclear and contested property rights; spontaneous colonisation and planned settlements


Some specific examples: Africa

  • Accounts for about half of global deforestation

  • Small-scale agriculture accounts for about 60%

  • Dry forests being converted at a rate 50% higher than rainforests

  • Logging is an important factor in parts of West and Central Africa

  • Demand for wood rarely drives deforestation on other than a local scale


What to do?

  • Multi-sectoral approach

  • Clearer, more secure property rights

  • Better governance and regulation

  • Payments for environmental services


Multi-sectoral approach

  • External factors drive deforestation – narrow forest sector solutions won’t work

  • Need a multi-sectoral approach – lots of policies and actions that deal with the complexity

  • But these haven’t worked well in the past

    • Sectoral entities don’t cooperate

    • Economic policy makers rarely think about forests

    • Politically unattractive – many small steps


Property rights

  • Unclear and contested property rights are a major underlying cause of deforestation in most places

  • Reforms challenge established power relations, are politically sensitive and usually slow to fix

  • But there have been enormous changes in some parts of the world in the last 15 years or so


Better governance and regulation

  • Forests often associated with deep seated systems of political patronage, corruption, inconsistent legal frameworks, weak law enforcement and poverty

  • Must be resolved by wider governance reforms as well as specific actions related to forests

  • Such actions more likely to succeed if reinforced by markets that discriminate in favour of products from legal and well managed sources


Payments for environmental services

  • Experience in market / compensation based approaches is growing – but still very limited in countries where deforestation is greatest

  • Lack of property rights and high transaction costs pose problems

  • Carbon is biggest potential market

  • But how would payments to countries affect the behaviour of individual farmers and companies?


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