Submissions Accepted for Presentation at the World Bank Land Conference 2024

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Session Overview
02-02: Documenting and harnessing the multiple benefits from forests
Tuesday, 14/May/2024:
10:30am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Robert Heilmayr, University of California, Santa Barbara, United States of America
Location: MC 9-100

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Urban forests: environmental health values and risks

Jianwei Xing1, Zhiren Hu2, Fan Xia3, Jintao Xu1, Eric Zou4

1Beijing University; 2Cornell University; 3Nanjing University; 4University of Michigan

This study examines urban forests as a policy tool for air pollution mitigation. We study an afforestation program in the city of Beijing, which planted a total of 2 million mu of greenery – roughly the size of Los Angeles – across the city over a decade. We conduct a remote-sensing audit of the program, finding that it contributes to a substantial greening up of the city. This causes significant downwind air quality improvement, reducing average PM2.5 concentration at city population hubs by 4.2 percent. Rapid vegetation growth, however, led to a 7.4 percent increase in pollen exposure. Analysis of medical claims data shows aeroallergens triggered emergency room visits. We offer insight on managing urban forests’ health risks, identifying harmful pollen species and susceptible population subgroups.


Beyond Ostrom: Randomized experiment of the impact of individualized tree rights on forest management in Ethiopia

Ryo Takahashi1, Keijiro Otsuka2, Mesfin Tilahun3, Emiru Birhane4, Stein Holden4

1Waseda University, Japan; 2Kobe University; 3Mekelle University; 4Norwegian University of Life Sciences

We argue that while community forest management is effective in protecting forest resources, as argued by Ostrom, such management may fail to provide the proper incentives to nurture such resources because the benefits of forest management are collectively shared. This study proposes a mixed private and community management system characterized by communal protection of community-owned forest areas and individual management of individually owned trees as a desirable arrangement for timber forest management in developing countries. By conducting a randomized experiment in Ethiopia, we found that the mixed management system significantly stimulated intensive forest management activities, including pruning, guarding, and watering. Furthermore, more timber trees and forest products were extracted from the treated areas, which are byproducts of tree management (e.g., thinned trees and pruned branches). In contrast, the extracted volumes of non-timber forest products unrelated to tree management (fodder and honey) did not change with the intervention.


Valuing the hidden benefits of forest-based climate change mitigation

Ingrid Schulte1,2, Alexander Golub3, Christine Gerbode4, Constantino Dockendorff1, Sabine Fuss1,2

1Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, Germany; 2Humboldt University of Berlin; 3American University; 4Environmental Defense Fund

Forest conservation and restoration continue to be undervalued, underpriced, and underfunded. Financing for forests mostly focuses on climate change mitigation, valuing forests for their carbon storage capacity. With increasing attention on the importance of biodiversity, ecosystem services, and preservation of indigenous and local cultures, it has become clear that there are visible and invisible co-benefits of forests that are equally – if not more – significant than carbon alone. We review evidence supporting an expanded valuation of forests, and assess practical examples to overcome this valuation gap. We do this by first offering an economic framework for our analysis, defining a social cost of deforestation (SCD). We then use this lens to assess a suite of opportunities to appropriately value and monetize forest co-benefits. These identified tools may help avoid suboptimal outcomes arising from a carbon-centric approach – supporting policy discussions, and unlocking expanded public and private finance for forests.


Spatiotemporal scenarios for deforestation in Brazil’s Legal Amazon

Philipp Kollenda1,2, Rafaella Almeida Silvestrini3, Andrea Santos Garcia3,4, Dieter Wang1, Marek Hanusch1, Alvaro Maia Batista3, Carla Christina Solis Uehara1

1The World Bank Group, Washington, DC, US; 2Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, NL; 3IPAM - Amazon Environmental Research Institute, Brasilia, BR; 4Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, BE

We develop a novel spatiotemporal algorithm to explore deforestation scenarios in the Brazilian Amazon and their relationship with public policies. We predict total deforestation using exogenous macroeconomic factors and allocate it across space using local economic and environmental conditions. When accounting for forecasted macroeconomic conditions, expected deforestation until 2025 is 35% lower than when current deforestation rates continued unchanged, indicating macroeconomic conditions favorable for reduced deforestation. Expected deforestation is concentrated in central Pará and southern Amazonas, especially along the main roads. We then develop a policy scenario with stronger conservation efforts, where non-designated public forests are treated like protected areas. Here, deforestation leakage mainly occurs in rural settlements and properties. The spatially explicit model can help identify risk areas for targeted policy responses and shed light on where leakage can be expected when local protection mechanisms are enforced. Accompanying the paper is an online dashboard to visualize the results interactively.


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