Three Essays On Protecting Biodiversity In Developing Countries
Developing countries often hoard the largest number of species, but also experience very high poverty levels. This dissertation reviews the evidence of the performance common conservation interventions. I find that despite the billions of dollars channeled towards conservation efforts annually, there is still very limited evidence whether or not conservation policies work. The evidence has been limited to exceptional countries like Costa Rica and Thailand and outlines like deforestation, without considering ecosystem function and ecosystem services. Furthermore, I find that the conservation impact evaluation literature has currently not highlighted the channels through which conservation policies effect change and how the effectiveness varies with the baseline characteristics of the area.
This dissertation aims to address some of the gaps in current conservation literature. Focusing on Indonesia between 2000 and 2006, I evaluate the performance of protected areas in terms of stalling deforestation as well as providing a wide range of ecosystem services and benefits (Chapter 2). In Chapter 3 I examine the role of context in which protected areas operate and show significant heterogeneity in their performance. In Chapter 4 I develop a static spatially explicit model of household fuelwood extraction that allows me to predict the location and magnitude of spillovers when a protected area is introduced. I find that depending on the characteristics of the areas, it may be optimal for households to buy fuelwood than collect it.
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