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Research to manage the Environment for Development

Recent publications


Protection of Quality Products with Geographical Indication in Tanzania

The Tanzanian component of the VALOR Project (2014-2018) studied quality factors, traits and conditions with potential to increase value of agricultural products in Tanzania through Geographical Indication (GI) protection, by recognizing territory specific (origin) products stewarded by smallholder. This policy brief summarises the key findings on policy option flowing from the research.


Habitat Fragmentation and Systematic Conservation Planning in Low-income Countries

Parks and nature reserves created for conservation often become forest islands in a matrix of other land uses. Their species populations often decline due to this forest fragmentation. There is increasing evidence that conservation outside of reserves is required to slow biodiversity loss. This evidence, coupled with the species decline due to fragmentation, implies that conservation policies require a landscape perspective that includes the land in between protected areas. In low-income countries, however, these “matrix” areas often support rural people’s livelihoods.


Resource Scarcity Can Help Improve Local Cooperation

This study examines the effect of long-term resource scarcity on cooperation, measured by both the irrigation management practices and a lab-in-the-field experiment. We find that greater water scarcity not only leads to better irrigation management practices and outcomes, but also fosters a stronger norm of cooperation among villagers. Our findings imply that, when facing the pressure of increasing scarcity, it is possible for local people to cooperate and provide effective collective action in resource management.


Alternatives for Risk Elicitation in the Field

Although field experimental methods are the workhorse of researchers interested in risk preferences, practitioners find surveys easier to implement. This paper compares results from experimental versus survey-based methods to elicit farmers’ risk attitudes, in context-free and context-specific decision settings. We then explore how the different survey estimates of risk preferences relate to real-life farming choices in a population of coffee farmers in Costa Rica.


    Rural Households’ Forest Use in Fragmented Forest Landscapes

    The overarching purpose of this discussion paper is to provide a starting point for consideration of the implications of changing households’ access to forests and forest products and to changing management of lands outside of reserves. We study five communities located in and around the Amani Nature Reserve and the Nilo Forest Reserve, within the broader landscape of the biodiversity hot spot of Tanzania’s Eastern Arc, the East and West Usambara Mountains.


    Behavioural Nudges for Water Conservation in Unequal Settings

    In the period 2015-2018, the City of Cape Town experienced a sustained drought that eventually reduced the city’s usable reserves to 10% of capacity. Fortunately, there were individual water meters in many homes, and as part of the city’s response to the water crisis, it was able to implement increasingly stringent water restrictions, using both price (higher water tariffs) and quantity (lower water pressure and legislated constraints on daily use by households).


    Back to the plough: Women managers and farm productivity in India

    In India, role of women as farm managers has been veiled behind image of men as primary decision makers on farms. Data shows that approximately 8% farm households had women farm managers in India in 2004, and this number increased to 11% in 2011. This rising phenomenon of farm management by women begets an in depth understanding about these farms, including, differentials in productivity levels across men and women managers. This paper uses three measures to capture productivity – production value, profit value and crop specific yields.


    Identifying the local factors of resilience during cyclone Hudhud and Phailin on the east coast of India

    The vulnerabilities of coastal communities have increased in recent years, as more people have to live in hazard-prone areas due to population growth. The east coast of India is one such vulnerable area that faces the combined challenge of climate risks and poverty. This study identifies the environmental and socioeconomic factors contributing to the resilience building that helped the communities in the study area to cope with cyclone Phailin in 2013 and cyclone Hudhud in 2014. We used questionnaire surveys, GIS and satellite data, and econometric analysis to identify these features.


    Urban Rail Transit Can Improve Air Quality: New Evidence from Chinese Cities

    In this research, we investigate whether urban rail transit expansion improves air quality. We also compare the magnitudes of the effects across cities and explain the variation. The results suggest that opening subways alleviated air pollution, especially during non-rush hours in the daytime. We find that the effects are smaller in the cities with higher income and more subway lines, while the effects are larger in the cities with higher population density. Furthermore, the effect of the first subway line opening is stronger, compared to expansion of an existing subway system.