Submissions Accepted for Presentation at the World Bank Land Conference 2024

The conference agenda provides an overview and details of sessions. In order to view sessions on a specific day or for a certain room, please select an appropriate date or room link. You may also select a session to explore available abstracts and download papers and presentations.

Session Overview
02-05: Evidence on policies to improve forest and nature conservation
Wednesday, 15/May/2024:
8:00am - 10:00am

Session Chair: Erik Katovich, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Location: MC 9-100

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Making a difference takes time: comparing the impacts of two direct conservation interventions on forest cover in a biodiversity hotspot

Ana Reboredo Segovia1, Leidy López Toro2, Eric Bullock3, Paulo Arévalo1, Clara Matallana4, Christoph Nolte1

1Boston University, United States of America; 2Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia; 3US Forest Service, United States of America; 4Independent Consultant, Colombia

This study evaluates the cost-effectiveness of two tropical forest conservation programs—public land acquisitions (PLA) and payments for environmental services (PES)—in eastern Antioquia, Colombian Andes. Over a 10–30 year period, both programs compensated landowners for relinquishing partial (PES) or total (PLA) land-use rights. Despite PES covering a larger area (67,000 vs. 9,000 hectares) due to lower initial costs and flexible tenure, PLA demonstrated greater effectiveness in preserving net forest cover. Using counterfactual impact estimation and novel forest cover change data, PLA exhibited higher relative (+9.46% vs. +0.1%) and absolute impact (+283 vs. +43.7 hectares). Cost-effectiveness, however, showed no significant difference. Surveying managers and participants revealed that both programs mitigate some social harms associated with Protected Areas but introduce their own equity concerns. This underscores the need for mindful tradeoffs in choosing between PLA and PES, emphasizing the influence of implementation opportunities, temporal factors, and the perspective of inquiry on results.

02-05-Reboredo Segovia-243.pdf

Impacts of Paraguay’s zero-deforestation law

Anna Pede1, Kendra Walker1, Robert Heilmayr1, Atahualpa Ayala2, Lauren Sharwood2

1University of California, Santa Barbara; 2Environmental Markets Lab, University of California, Santa Barbara

The trajectory of global emissions highly relies on developing countries' capacity to ensure effective land management, especially policies to promote forest conservation. We study the impacts of Paraguay's zero-deforestation law, a pioneer deforestation ban targeting the preservation of the Atlantic rainforest, one of the world's most threatened biomes. We assess the policy impact and effectiveness in twofold. First, we apply a synthetic difference-in-differences approach to estimating the policy's impact on deforestation. We discuss these results in light of Paraguay's forest management institutions and law enforcement. Second, we leverage unique remotely sensed data on crop cultivation and property-boundary information to track policy violations. This analysis highlights the contribution of small and large landowners to illegal deforestation and the leading agricultural practices driving it. Our study provides crucial insights into the challenges of land governance targeting deforestation mitigation.


Human and nature: economies of density and conservation in the Amazon rainforest

Shunsuke Tsuda1, Yoshito Takasaki2, Mari Tanaka3

1University of Essex; 2The University of Tokyo; 3Hitotsubashi University

Conserving rainforests impacts the standard of living of local populations. Moreover, human adaptation through sectoral or spatial reallocation of economic activity may undermine conservation policy goals. To derive policies that balance human and ecological well-being, this paper estimates a multi-sector spatial model that formalizes human-nature interactions using high-resolution georeferenced data from river basins in the Peruvian Amazon and plausibly exogenous variation in the river network structure. We find that the agglomeration externality in agricultural production outweighs dispersion forces in land access, implying that higher concentration leads to higher productivity with less deforestation per farmer. We also find a strong congestion externality with spatial spillovers in natural resource extraction. The agglomeration externality has quantitatively large welfare and forest cover gains but leads to natural resource depletion through general equilibrium effects. Counterfactuals demonstrate that combining well-targeted protection policies and transport infrastructure simultaneously achieve higher welfare, lower deforestation, and less natural resource depletion.


Outsourcing wildlife conservation: A comparative analysis of private and government management of protected areas in Africa

Sean Denny2, Gabriel Englander1, Patrick Hunnicutt3

1World Bank, United States of America; 2UC Santa Barbara; 3Chapman University

Protected areas can conserve wildlife and benefit rural people, but realizing this potential requires effective management. In Africa, national governments increasingly delegate management of protected areas to private organizations. Does private management improve outcomes compared to a counterfactual of government management? We leverage the transfer of management authority from governments to African Parks (AP)---the largest private manager of protected areas in Africa---to show that private management significantly improves wildlife outcomes via reduced elephant poaching and increased bird populations. Our results also suggest that AP's management augments tourism, while the effect on rural wealth is inconclusive. However, AP's management increases the risk of armed groups targeting civilians, which could be due to AP's improved monitoring and enforcement systems. These findings reveal an intricate interplay between conservation, economic development, and security under private protected area management in Africa.


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