Protected Area Effectiveness in Reducing Tropical Deforestation: A Global Analysis of the Impact of Protection Status

By Andrew Nelson and Kenneth M. Chomitz

Such guidance may come from existing efforts in the establishment of protected areas and indigenous areas. Motivated by biodiversity, environmental, social, and land rights concerns, these interventions encourage forest conservation and sustainable use and would often be expected to reduce deforestation. Protected areas have expanded in recent years and now cover 27 percent of the tropical forest biome. Forests controlled by local and indigenous communities have also expanded.

An assessment of the effectiveness of these areas in reducing deforestation could inform the design of interventions to promote REDD: reduced carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation. Yet there is considerable uncertainty and controversy over the impacts and effectiveness of protected areas and very few well- designed evaluations. One area of dispute is the relative effectiveness in deforestation reduction of strictly protected areas versus areas that allow some degree of sustainable use by local people.

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