Impacts of Conservation Incentives in Protected Areas: The Case of Bolsa Floresta, Brazil

56 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2020 Last revised: 30 Jun 2021

See all articles by Elías Cisneros

Elías Cisneros

University of Göttingen ; University of Texas at Austin - Department of Geography and the Environment

Jan Börner

University of Bonn

Stefano Pagiola

World Bank - Environment and Natural Resources Division

Sven Wunder

Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Date Written: June 29, 2021

Abstract

Conditional incentives are a promising complementary approach to conserve tropical forests, for example, in multiple-use protected areas. In this paper we analyze the environmental impacts of Bolsa Floresta, a forest conservation program that combines direct conditional payments with livelihood-focused investments in 15 multiple-use reserves in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. We use grid-based data, nearest-neighbor matching, and panel data econometrics to compare three forest-related program outcomes – deforestation, degradation, and fires – of participating and non-participating reserve areas. Forest threats were low before and after treatment, because the program prioritized low-pressure sites. Thus, we find significant but small additional conservation effects from the implementation of the program. Notwithstanding, treatment effects are relatively larger in areas with higher deforestation pressure and higher potential agricultural income. Our findings add to the growing body of evidence showing that adverse spatial targeting of conservation incentives, i.e. disproportionally enrolling low–pressure sites, is a prime cause for the low additionality found in rigorous impact evaluations of many existing initiatives.

Keywords: Deforestation, protected areas, payments for environmental services (PES), spatial matching, Amazonas, Brazil

JEL Classification: O13, Q15, Q56, Q57

Suggested Citation

Cisneros, Elías and Börner, Jan and Pagiola, Stefano and Wunder, Sven, Impacts of Conservation Incentives in Protected Areas: The Case of Bolsa Floresta, Brazil (June 29, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3676708 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3676708

Elías Cisneros (Contact Author)

University of Göttingen ( email )

Platz der Goettinger Sieben 3
Goettingen, 37073
Germany

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Geography and the Environment ( email )

305 E. 23rd Street, A3100
RLP 3.306
Austin, TX 78712
United States

Jan Börner

University of Bonn ( email )

Regina-Pacis-Weg 3
Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012
Germany

Stefano Pagiola

World Bank - Environment and Natural Resources Division ( email )

Washington, DC 20433
United States

Sven Wunder

Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) ( email )

P.O.Box 6596
JKPWB Jakarta 10065
Indonesia
+62 251 622622, ext. 414 (Phone)
+62 251 622100 (Fax)

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