Is there a tradeoff between afforestation and agriculture? Evidence from India

37 Pages Posted: 15 May 2024

See all articles by Vikrant Kamble

Vikrant Kamble

Georgia Institute of Technology

Dylan Brewer

Georgia Institute of Technology - School of Economics

Matthew E. Oliver

Georgia Institute of Technology

Date Written: May 15, 2024

Abstract

Afforestation is a popular strategy to mitigate climate change. However, the vast land area required suggests a potentially large tradeoff between afforestation and agriculture. From 2003-2010, one of the largest afforestation programs in India was implemented in Rajasthan state. Using a yearly, district-level panel from 1991 to 2017, we estimate the effects of this program on the agricultural sector using two-way fixed effects and synthetic difference-in-differences approaches. Perhaps counterintuitively, our findings indicate the program had no impact on cultivated area in Rajasthan, suggesting agriculture was not displaced by afforestation. We also find robust, statistically significant increases in total agricultural production and yield following the program’s
implementation, which may have been partly driven by an increase in local rainfall or other ecosystem services resulting from increased forest cover. We discuss the implications of our findings for afforestation as a climate mitigation strategy.

Keywords: afforestation, agriculture, carbon sequestration, land use

JEL Classification: O13, Q15, Q23, Q56

Suggested Citation

Kamble, Vikrant and Brewer, Dylan and Oliver, Matthew E., Is there a tradeoff between afforestation and agriculture? Evidence from India (May 15, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4828249 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4828249

Vikrant Kamble

Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )

Dylan Brewer (Contact Author)

Georgia Institute of Technology - School of Economics ( email )

217 Habersham
Atlanta, GA 30332
United States

Matthew E. Oliver

Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )

Atlanta, GA 30332
United States

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