Protected Area Impacts on Land Cover in Mexico

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Although national and international efforts to mitigate deforestation during the last few decades have had some limited impact, they have failed to substantially slow the loss of tropical forests. This MP applies an approach for providing more evidence on what has worked or not worked in terms of conservation policies intended to reduce tropical natural land cover. Specifically, the work and approaches used in my analysis should help to illuminate the tradeoffs currently facing Mexico, a country which is seriously considering pursuing REDD policies, but also knows it would not be without economic costs. My main objective is to answer the question: "have conservation parks affected change in land cover in Mexico?” while a related objective is to assess if some types of parks have had reliably more impact. Due to the nonrandom establishment of protected areas (PAs), I employ a matching approach (propensity score) in order to construct a plausible counterfactual by controlling explicitly for land characteristics that proved to be significant drivers of both land cover change and protection status. My results indicate not only that my approach improved impact estimates, but also, in particular, that PAs lower land cover change pressure by 3.1%, and that strict protection seems to avoid more land cover change (5.3%) than loose (multi-use) protection (2.7%). While these results are suggestive, I would recommend also trying to get better and more data to test their robustness.





Santiago-Ávila, Francisco J. (2013). Protected Area Impacts on Land Cover in Mexico. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

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