The Effects of Protected Area Systems on Ecosystem Restoration: A Quasi-Experimental Design to Estimate the Impact of Costa Rica's Protected Area System on Forest Regrowth

7 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2015

See all articles by Kwaw Andam

Kwaw Andam

World Bank

Paul J. Ferraro

Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School; Georgia State University - Department of Economics

Merlin Hanauer

Sonoma State University - School of Business and Economics

Date Written: January 23, 2015

Abstract

Global efforts to protect forest biodiversity and ecosystem services rely heavily on protected areas. Although these areas primarily aim to prevent losses from deforestation and degradation, they can also contribute to restoration. Previous evaluations of protected area impacts focus on avoided deforestation and fires. In contrast, we focus on the additional regrowth induced by Costa Rica’s renowned system of parks and reserves. We use a quasi-experimental empirical design to control for confounding baseline characteristics that affect both regrowth and the assignment of protection. Between 1960 and 1997, an estimated 13.5% of previously unforested lands inside protected areas reforested because they were afforded protection. The level of additional regrowth does not vary by the strictness of protection. As in previous studies of protected area impacts on avoided deforestation, estimators that do not account for nonrandom assignment of protection can overstate protected areas’ impacts on regrowth by nearly double.

Keywords: Parks, reserves, regrowth, impact evaluation, matching, causal effects, IUCN categories

Suggested Citation

Andam, Kwaw and Ferraro, Paul J. and Hanauer, Merlin, The Effects of Protected Area Systems on Ecosystem Restoration: A Quasi-Experimental Design to Estimate the Impact of Costa Rica's Protected Area System on Forest Regrowth (January 23, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2554236 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2554236

Kwaw Andam

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Paul J. Ferraro

Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School ( email )

100 International Drive
Baltimore, MD 21202
United States

Georgia State University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
United States

Merlin Hanauer (Contact Author)

Sonoma State University - School of Business and Economics ( email )

1801 East Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
United States

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