Rain Follows the Forest: Land Use Policy, Climate Change, and Adaptation

85 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2023 Last revised: 13 Jan 2024

See all articles by Florian Grosset

Florian Grosset

Columbia University

Anna Papp

Columbia University

Charles Taylor

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: December 1, 2023

Abstract

Human actions can alter the regional climate, particularly via land use. We analyze the Great Plains Shelterbelt, a large-scale forestation program in the 1930s across the US Midwest. This program led to a decades-long increase in precipitation and decrease in temperature. Changes extended to adjacent unforested land up to 200km away—enabling us to directly study climate adaptation. In downwind places facing improved growing conditions, farmers expanded corn acreage and switched to more water-intensive production. This paper highlights the endogeneity of the climate to land use changes, and the potential for tree planting to regionally mitigate climate change impacts.

Keywords: Climate Change, Forests, Adaptation, Land Use, Economic History

JEL Classification: Q1, Q5, N5, 013

Suggested Citation

Grosset, Florian and Papp, Anna and Taylor, Charles, Rain Follows the Forest: Land Use Policy, Climate Change, and Adaptation (December 1, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4333147 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4333147

Florian Grosset (Contact Author)

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Anna Papp

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Charles Taylor

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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