What Does Forest Conservation Cost?


The economics of forest conservation can be diffent depending on your perspective. Based on years of work that resulted in the establishment of Masoala National Park in Madagascar, Claire Kremen and others have found that from the viewpoint of a subsistance farmer, forest conservation can be a good deal; they can continue to farm and to use forest products to make a living. From the perspective of the international community, not cutting a forest provides valuable services: the prevention of greenhouse gases being released, and the removal of greenhouse gases from the air by the living forest. However, from the viewpoint of the national government, where most decisions are made, not cutting a forest means giving up substantial amounts of money, enough money to outweigh the apparent economic benefits of saving the forest.

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