What would have been the deforestation rate within and around protected areas if these protected areas had not been established? This project will allow to determine the impact of land conservation policies on deforestation and, with expenditure figures, the costs of saving an additional hectare of forest.
With this proposed research, we will be able to estimate how parks affect deforestation rates within and in neighboring areas. Evaluations of conservation policies will be significantly more accurate given that causal effects on deforestation rates in both inside and neighboring park areas will be considered. Our research will be one of the first studies addressing the non-random location of parks.
These results will allow policymakers to take more informed decisions. As previously stated, parks’ location can be chosen to maximize impact. Parks can be located in areas with high deforestation threat. If the presence of parks decreases deforestation rates in surrounding areas, policymakers can more efficiently reach forest conservation goals without implementing excessive land restrictions. If the presence of parks increases deforestation rates in surrounding areas, decisions about parks sizes, shapes and locations can be used to minimize leakage areas. This will reduce the negative effects on the generation of environmental services in surrounding areas. Finally, any finding about how parks characteristics can play a role on the impact will certainly help environmental policy design.