Estimating the Impacts of Conservation on Ecosystem Services and Poverty by Integrating Modeling and Evaluation

Ferraro, P. J., Hanauer, M. M., Miteva, D. A., Nelson, J. L., Pattanayak, S. K., Nolte, C., & Sims, K. R. (2015). Estimating the impacts of conservation on ecosystem services and poverty by integrating modeling and evaluation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(24), 7420-7425.

35 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2016

See all articles by Paul J. Ferraro

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

Daniela A. Miteva

The Nature Conservancy; University of Minnesota - St. Paul; Duke University

Joanna Nelson

The Nature Conservancy

Subhrendu K. Pattanayak

Duke University

Christoph Nolte

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Natural Resources & Environment

Katharine R. E. Sims

Amherst College - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 18, 2016

Abstract

Scholars have made great advances in modeling and mapping ecosystem services, and in assigning economic values to these services. This modeling and valuation scholarship is often disconnected from evidence about how actual conservation programs have affected ecosystem services, however. Without a stronger evidence base, decision makers find it difficult to use the insights from modeling and valuation to design effective policies and programs. To strengthen the evidence base, scholars have advanced our understanding of the causal pathways between conservation actions and environmental outcomes, but their studies measure impacts on imperfect proxies for ecosystem services (e.g., avoidance of deforestation). To be useful to decision makers, these impacts must be translated into changes in ecosystem services and values. To illustrate how this translation can be done, we estimated the impacts of protected areas in Brazil, Costa Rica, Indonesia, and Thailand on carbon storage in forests. We found that protected areas in these conservation hotspots have stored at least an additional 1,000 Mt of CO2 in forests and have delivered ecosystem services worth at least $5 billion. This aggregate impact masks important spatial heterogeneity, however. Moreover, the spatial variability of impacts on carbon storage is the not the same as the spatial variability of impacts on avoided deforestation. These findings lead us to describe a research program that extends our framework to study other ecosystem services, to uncover the mechanisms by which ecosystem protection benefits humans, and to tie cost-benefit analyses to conservation planning so that we can obtain the greatest return on scarce conservation funds.

Keywords: parks, avoided emissions, tropical forest, sequestration, quasi-experiment

JEL Classification: Q24, C14, C21

Suggested Citation

Ferraro, Paul J. and Hanauer, Merlin and Miteva, Daniela A. and Nelson, Joanna and Pattanayak, Subhrendu K. and Nolte, Christoph and Sims, Katharine R. E., Estimating the Impacts of Conservation on Ecosystem Services and Poverty by Integrating Modeling and Evaluation (January 18, 2016). Ferraro, P. J., Hanauer, M. M., Miteva, D. A., Nelson, J. L., Pattanayak, S. K., Nolte, C., & Sims, K. R. (2015). Estimating the impacts of conservation on ecosystem services and poverty by integrating modeling and evaluation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(24), 7420-7425.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2717712

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

Daniela A. Miteva

The Nature Conservancy ( email )

Fort Collins, CO 80524
United States

University of Minnesota - St. Paul

St. Paul, MN 55108
United States

Duke University ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Joanna Nelson

The Nature Conservancy ( email )

Arlington, VA 22203-1637
United States

Subhrendu K. Pattanayak

Duke University ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Christoph Nolte

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Natural Resources & Environment ( email )

440 Church St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Katharine R. E. Sims

Amherst College - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000
United States

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