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Valuing the Environment in Developing Countries

Case Studies

Edited by David Pearce, Corin Pearce and Charles Palmer

In this book, the first of two volumes, the authors provide detailed case studies of valuation techniques that have been used in developing countries. They demonstrate that valuation works and that it can yield significant insights into policy-relevant issues regarding conservation and economic development. The authors address a whole range of environmental issues under the broad themes of water and air quality, biological diversity and forest functions. The economic approaches covered include contingent valuation, hedonic property prices, travel cost methodologies and benefits transfer.
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Chapter 17: Is sustainable forestry economically possible?

Case Studies

David Pearce, Francis Putz and Jerome K. Vanclay


David Pearce, Francis Putz and Jerome K. Vanclay 1 THE ISSUE Concern about the rate at which the world’s forests are being depleted is widespread. Recent international calls for radical efforts to reduce deforestation include the United Nations Intergovernmental Forum on Forests of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (1999) and the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development (1999). This concern reflects an appreciation of the ecological and economic functions of forests: as providers of timber and many non-timber products, as the habitat for much of the world’s biological diversity, and as regulators of local, regional and global environments. These functions are at risk. Most of the forest clearance is in areas of high forest cover and high human population pressure in tropical areas for agriculture. In temperate and boreal areas the pressures from logging are more important. But, in all areas, forestry itself has an important role to play both as a partial cause of deforestation and, if practised wisely, as a potential source of salvation for at least some of the world’s forests. In terms of its causal role, forestry tends to open up primary forest areas, enabling colonists to move in, using roads forged by the timber companies. In some parts of the world, forests are converted not to agriculture but to biomass plantations of fast-growing trees or to other agroindustries based on tree crop plantations such as palm oil and rubber. Here the primary agent is not the peasant, but the richer elements...

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