Economic incentives for the sustainable management and conservation of tropical forests.

  • Michael Richards

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This PhD by Publication traces through 13 of my publications on economic incentives for forest management and conservation in tropical countries (with a regional bias towards Latin America), including several papers focused on participatory forest management or community-based conservation. The papers show how my thinking has evolved from a focus on market and nonmarket incentives, to an increasing emphasis on governance and regulatory incentives in explaining stakeholder behaviour to the forest resource, as well as the equity impacts.

    They reveal that positive incentives and win-win (environmental and poverty reduction) outcomes will only emerge when the underlying market, policy and institutional failures are tackled. Because of their public good values, the survival of tropical forests is contingent on the actions of the international community and governments.

    Sustainable forestry, therefore, depends on a combination of domestic governance progress to control illegal logging and the rent-seeking powers of vested interest groups, global governance regulations which create markets for environmental services, secure property rights for resident stakeholders and extra-sectoral policies that moderate land use opportunity costs.

    The current main hope for tropical forests is 'avoided deforestation 1 , since this will need to tackle the forest governance problems and underlying multi-sectoral
    drivers of deforestation if it is to be successful. It represents a balanced market (payments for ecosystem services) and supply-side (improved governance) response to what is essentially a 'public goods' management problem, but will need to overcome some major political economy challenges.
    Date of AwardApr 2007
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRobert Morgan (Supervisor)


    • Forest management
    • tropics
    • forest conservation
    • Rain forest ecology
    • Sustainable agriculture

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