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Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Paying people to protect forests is worth it to reduce deforestation, carbon emissions

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Posted: 20 Jul 2017 11:23 AM PDT  see full ScienceDaily article here

A new study suggests that paying people to conserve their trees could be a highly cost-effective way to reduce deforestation and carbon emissions and should be a key part of the global strategy to fight climate change. The study sought to evaluate how effective ‘Payments for Ecosystems’ (PES) is at reducing deforestation.

…the study applies the method of field experiments, or randomized controlled trials, to the question of how effective PES is. The study design helped the researchers accurately measure the averted deforestation caused by the program…

The findings highlight the advantages of focusing on developing countries when working to reduce global carbon emissions. While the benefit of conserving a tree is the same regardless of the location, paying individuals to conserve forests in developing countries like Uganda is less expensive, making it cheaper to reduce overall emissions

Seema Jayachandran, Joost de Laat, Eric F. Lambin, Charlotte Y. Stanton, Robin Audy, Nancy E. Thomas. Cash for carbon: A randomized trial of payments for ecosystem services to reduce deforestation. Science, 2017; 357 (6348): 267 DOI: 10.1126/science.aan0568

 

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