by Staff Writers
Bonn, Germany (SPX) Sep 25, 2015
Brazil's public authorities regularly publish "blacklists" of municipalities with high illegal deforestation rates. This environmental policy tool is working: scientists at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) and the Institute for Food and Resource Economics (ILR) at the University of Bonn have found that the public shaming strategy reduced Amazon forest loss in the blacklisted districts by 26% per year. Their findings have now been published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has declined recently. While in 2004, trees were still being felled on more than 27,000 square kilometers of land, the area was reduced to fewer than 10,000 square kilometers starting in 2009.
"There is a whole range of factors causing this," says Elias Cisneros, Junior Researcher at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) and an employee of the Institute for Food and Resource Economics (ILR) at the University of Bonn. For instance, demand for internationally traded agrarian and forestry products also dropped in response to the financial crisis in 2008. However, Brazil's environmental policy has played a key role in protecting the rainforest, as Cisneros has shown in his work with Sophie Lian Zhou (ILR) and Junior Professor Dr. Jan Borner (ZEF).
Public disclosure of districts with high deforestation rates
Brazil has used this political tool since 2008. Of the 771 districts in the Brazilian rainforest, "naming and shaming" was introduced in 50 areas with particularly high levels of deforestation. "Blacklisted municipalities may have been worried about economic penalties, among other things," says Cisneros. This fear of losing market opportunities apparently helped to significantly reduce illegal deforestation.
How much deforestation would be taking place without the blacklists?
"Between 2008 and 2012, many blacklisted districts have apparently witnessed a collective effort to safeguard their reputation. This effort seems to have been an important driver in protecting more than 4,000 square kilometers, about 40 times the area of the Black Forest National Park in Germany," says Borner in his summary of the findings.
Term paper as a basis for the study
Naming and shaming for conservation: evidence from the Brazilian Amazon, journal PLOS ONE,
University of Bonn
Forestry News - Global and Local News, Science and Application
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