Busch, J., Ferretti-Gallon, K. (2023). What drives and stops deforestation, reforestation, and forest degradation? An updated meta-analysis. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy.
From the article: This article updates our previous comprehensive meta-analysis of what drives and stops deforestation (Busch and Ferretti-Gallon 2017). By including six additional years of research, this article more than doubles the evidence base to 320 spatially explicit econometric studies published in peer-reviewed academic journals from 1996 to 2019.
Busch, J., Amarjargal, O. (2022). 100 global bright spots of green growth: co-occurrence of nighttime light gain and forest gain, 1990-2015. Global Environmental Change, 75:102556.
From the article: Sectoral shift toward services, rather than rising income per se, may be a promising pathway for other regions seeking to combine economic growth and environmental improvement.
Bernstein, A.S., Ando, A.W., Loch-Temzelides, T., Vale, M.M., Li, B.V., Li, H., Busch, J., Chapman, C.A., Kinnaird, M., Nowak, K., Castro, M.C., Zambrana-Torrelio, C., Ahumada, J.A., Xiao, L., Roehrdanz, P., Kaufman, L., Hannah, L., Daszak, P., Pimm, S.L., Dobson, A.P. (2022). The costs and benefits of primary prevention of zoonotic pandemics. Science Advances, 8(eabl4183):1-13.
From the article: Primary pandemic prevention actions cost less than 1/20th the value of lives lost each year to emerging viral zoonoses and have substantial cobenefits.
Busch, J., Amarjargal, O., Taheripour, F., Austin, K.G., Siregar, R.N., Koenig, K., Hertel, T.W. (2022). Effects of demand-side restrictions on high-deforestation palm oil in Europe on deforestation and emissions in Indonesia. Environmental Research Letters. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac435e
From the article: A European ban on high-deforestation palm oil from 2000–2015 would have led to a 8.9% global price premium on low-deforestation palm oil, resulting in 21,374 ha/yr (1.60%) less deforestation and 21.1 million tCO2/yr (1.91%) less emissions from deforestation in Indonesia relative to what occurred.
Roe, S., Streck, C., Beach, R., Busch, J., Chapman, M., Daioglou, V., Deppermann, A., Doelman, J., Emmet-Booth, J., Engelmann, J., Fricko, O., Frischman, C., Funk, J., Grassi, G., Griscom, B., Havlik, P., Hanssen, S., Humpenöder, F., Landholm, D., Lomax, G., Lehmann, J., Mesnildrey, L., Nabuurs, G.-J., Popp, A., Rivard, C., Sanderman, J., Sohngen, B., Smith, P., Stehfest, E., Woolf, D., Lawrence, D. (2021) "Land-based measures to mitigate climate change: potential and feasibility by country." Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/gcb.15873.
From the article: Cost-effective (available up to $100/tCO2eq) land-based mitigation is 8–13.8 GtCO2eq yr−1 between 2020 and 2050...approximately 50% from forests and other ecosystems, 35% from agriculture, and 15% from demand-side measures.
Busch, J., Ring, I., Akullo, M., Amarjargal, O., Borie, M., Cassola, R.S., Cruz-Trinidad, A., Droste, N. Haryanto, J.T., Kasymov, U., Kotenko, N.V., Lhkagvadorj, A., Lima De Paulo, F.L., May, P.H., Mukherjee, A., Mumbunan, S., Santos, R., Tacconi, L., Verde Selva, G., Verma, M., Wang, X., Yu, L., Zhou, K. (2021) “A global review of ecological fiscal transfers.” Nature Sustainability, doi.org/10.1038/s41893-021-00728-0.
From the article: We review established EFT in Brazil, Portugal, France, China and India, and emerging or proposed EFT in ten more countries.
Readcube (free, read-only access)
Shah, P., Baylis, K., Busch, J., Engelmann, J. (2021) “What determines the effectiveness of national protected area systems?” Environmental Research Letters, doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ac05ed.
From the article: Countries with lower agricultural activity, higher economic growth and better governance are most strongly associated with greater country-level protected area effectiveness.
Dobson, A.P., Pimm, S., Hannah, L., Kaufman, L., Ahumada, J.A., Ando, A.W., Bernstein, A., Busch, J., Daszak, P., Engelmann, J., Kinnaird, M., Li, B., Loch-Temzelides, T., Lovejoy, T., Nowak, K., Roehrdanz, P., Vale, M.M. (2020) “Ecology and economics for pandemic prevention.” Science, 369(6502):379-381.
From the article: We estimate the present value of prevention costs for 10 years to be only about 2% of the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Busch, J., Kapur, A., Mukherjee, A. (2020). “Did India’s ecological fiscal transfers incentivize state governments to increase their forestry budgets?” Environmental Research Communications. doi.org/10.1088/2515-7620/ab817c
From the abstract: The introduction of ecological fiscal transfers has not yet led states to increase their forestry budgets. We develop a causal chain that suggests two reasons this could be.
Yang, B., Qin, S., Xu, W., Busch, J., Yang, X., Gu, X., Yang, Z., Wang, B., Dai, Q., Xu, Y. (2020). “Gap Analysis of Giant Panda Conservation as an Example for Planning China's National Park System” Current Biology, 30:1-5.
From the abstract: Taking the proposed Giant Panda National Park as an example, we analyzed the relationship between panda habitat and the existing protected areas, considering not only de jure designated coverage but also de facto levels of two types of potentially harmful activities (timber extraction and human disturbance).
Griscom, B., Busch, J., Cook-Patton, S., Ellis, P., Funk, J., Leavitt, S., Lomax, G., Turner, W., Chapman, M., Engelmann, J., Gurwick, N., Landis, E., Lawrence, D., Malhi, Y., Schindler Murray, L., Navarrete, D., Roe, S., Scull, S., Smith, P., Streck, C., Walker, W., Worthington, T. (2020). “Natural climate solutions offer half of cost-effective climate change mitigation for tropical countries.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 375:20190126.
From the abstract: In half of the tropical countries, cost-effective natural climate solutions could mitigate over half of national emissions. In more than a quarter of tropical countries, cost-effective natural climate solutions potential is greater than national emissions.
Busch, J., Amarjargal, O. (2020). “Authority of Second-Tier Governments to Reduce Deforestation in 30 Tropical Countries” Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, 3:1. doi: 10.3389/ffgc.2020.00001.
From the abstract: Authorities that second-tier governments most commonly possess include
development planning, taxation, budgeting, and roads. Authorities that second-tier
governments least commonly possess include land ownership, police, permits for mining,
Indigenous affairs, and protected areas.
Bauhoff, S., Busch, J. (2020). “Does deforestation increase malaria prevalence? Evidence from satellite data and health surveys” World Development, 127:104734.
From the abstract: Adhering to methods that we pre-specified in a pre-analysis plan, we did not find either deforestation or intermediate levels of forest cover to be associated with higher malaria prevalence.
Busch, J., Engelmann, J., Cook-Patton, S., Griscom, B., Kroeger, T., Possingham, H., Shyamsundar, P. (2019). “Low-Cost Opportunities for Carbon Dioxide Removal Through Tropical Reforestation” Nature Climate Change, 9:463-466.
From the abstract: We produce spatially disaggregated marginal abatement cost curves for tropical reforestation by simulating the effects of payments for increased CO2 removals on land-cover change in 90 countries. We estimate that removals from tropical reforestation between 2020–2050 could be increased by 5.7 GtCO2 (5.6%) at a carbon price of US $20/tCO2.
Blog (The Nature Conservancy)
Funk, J.M., Aguilar-Amuchastegui, N., Baldwin-Cantello, W., Busch, J., Chuvasov, E., Evans, T., Griffin, B., Harris, N., Napolitano Ferreira, M., Petersen, K., Phillips, O., Soares, M.G., van der Hoff, R.J.A. (2019). “Securing the climate benefits of stable forests.” Climate Policy. DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2019.1598838.
From the abstract: Stable forests – those not already significantly disturbed nor facing predictable near future risks of anthropogenic disturbance – have received comparatively little attention through existing forest protection mechanisms and finance.
Game, E.T., Tallis, H., Olander, L., Alexander, S.M., Busch, J., Cartwright, N., Kalies, E.L., Masuda, Y.J., Mupepele, A-C, Qiu, J., Rooney, A., Sills, E., Sutherland, W.J. (2018). “Cross-discipline evidence principles for sustainability policy.” Nature Sustainability, 1:452-454.
From the abstract: Evidence-based approaches to sustainability challenges must draw on knowledge from the environment, development and health communities. To be practicable, this requires an approach to evidence that is broader and less hierarchical than the standards often applied within disciplines.
Busch, J. (2018). “Monitoring and evaluating the payment-for-performance premise of REDD+: the case of India’s ecological fiscal transfers” Ecosystem Health and Sustainability, 4(7):169-175.
From the abstract: India’s EFTs differ from REDD+ programs in that they pay for states’ stock of forest area in the recent past rather than reductions in the rate of forest carbon loss in the near-future. Nevertheless, India’s EFTs focus on a single outcome and have many recipient governments, significant financial scale, lack of contemporaneous confounding policy changes, universal participation, and long-term data collection. These features make India’s EFTs especially useful for testing the payment-for-performance premise of REDD+.
Busch, J. and Engelmann, J. (2018). “Cost Effectiveness of Reducing Emissions from Tropical Deforestation, 2016-2050.” Environmental Research Letters, 13(1):015001.
From the abstract: We project that without new forest conservation policies 289 million hectares of tropical forest will be cleared from 2016–2050, releasing 169 GtCO2. A carbon price of US$20/tCO2 ($50/tCO2) across tropical countries would avoid 41 GtCO2 (77 GtCO2) from 2016–2050...
Busch, J. and Mukherjee, A. (2017). “Encouraging State Governments to Protect and Restore Forest Using Ecological Fiscal Transfers: India’s Tax Revenue Distribution Reform.” Conservation Letters, doi: 10.1111/conl.12416.
From the abstract: The Government of India estimates that from 2015 to 2019 it will distribute $6.9–$12 billion per year to states in proportion to their 2013 forest cover, amounting to around $174–$303 per hectare of forest per year...India's tax revenue distribution reform creates the world's first ecological fiscal transfers (EFTs) for forest cover, and a potential model for other countries...
Alisjahbana, A. and Busch, J. (2017). “Survey of Recent Developments: Forestry, Fires, and Climate Change in Indonesia.” Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, 53(2):111-136.
From the abstract: We survey recent developments in four storylines related to forestry and climate change: first, Indonesia's commitment to reducing emissions to 29%–41% below projected business-as-usual levels by 2030...second, land-use rights and regulations...third, measures to prevent catastrophic forest fires...and, fourth, the actions of non-state actors, especially large agribusinesses, in managing forests and peatland...
Busch, J. and Ferretti-Gallon, K. (2017) “What drives deforestation and what stops it? A meta-analysis” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 11(1):3-23.
From the abstract: Based on the results of the meta-analysis, we suggest promising approaches for stopping deforestation, including reducing the expansion of road networks into remote forested areas, targeting protected areas in regions where forests face a greater threat, and insulating the forest frontier from the demand for agricultural commodities. There is preliminary evidence that enforcing forest protection laws, supporting continued forest management by indigenous peoples, and payments for ecosystem services (PES) may also stop deforestation.
Podcast (Center for Global Development)
Goetz, S.J., Hansen, M., Houghton, R.A., Walker, W., Laporte, N., Busch, J. (2015) “Measurement and monitoring needs, capabilities and potential for addressing reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation under REDD+” Environmental Research Letters, 10:123001.
From the abstract: Capabilities exist now to meet operational needs for REDD+ measurement, reporting, and verification and reference levels. For some other areas of importance for REDD+, such as safeguards for natural forests and biodiversity, monitoring capabilities are approaching operational in the near term...
Pelletier, J., Busch, J., Potvin, C (2015) “Addressing uncertainty upstream or downstream of accounting for emissions reductions from deforestation and forest degradation” Climatic Change, 130(4):635-648.
From the abstract: The costs of upstream investments in improved forest monitoring are relatively low compared to the potential benefits from carbon payments...the degree of conservativeness applied downstream has a major influence on both overall creditable emission reductions and on incentives for upstream forest monitoring improvements...
Busch, J., Ferretti-Gallon, K., Engelmann, J., Wright, T., Austin, K., Stolle, F., Turubanova, S., Potapov, P., Margono, B., Hansen, M., Baccini, A. (2015) “Reductions in emissions from deforestation from Indonesia’s moratorium on new oil palm, timber, and logging concessions” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1412514112
From the abstract: If Indonesia’s moratorium had been in place from 2000 to 2010, then nationwide emissions from deforestation over that decade would have been 241–615 MtCO2e (2.8–7.2%) lower without leakage, or 213–545 MtCO2e (2.5–6.4%) lower with leakage...For Indonesia to have achieved its target of reducing emissions by 26%, the geographic scope of the moratorium would have had to expand beyond new concessions (15.0% of emissions from deforestation and peat degradation) to also include existing concessions (21.1% of emissions) and address deforestation outside of concessions and protected areas (58.7% of emissions)...
Yang, B., Busch., J., Zhang, L., Ran, J., Gu, X., Zhang, W., Du, B., Xu, Y., Mittermeier, R.A. (2014) “China’s collective forest tenure reform and the future of the giant panda.” Conservation Letters, doi: 10.1111/conl.12143
From the abstract: China has recently reformed its system of collective forest tenure to allow commercial logging, increased collection of firewood and nontimber forest products by outside enterprises, unmanaged tourism, and certain types of industrial development to occur in collective forests where these activities were previously restrained...We estimate that $1,229 million in effective eco-compensation payments could prevent an estimated 15% decline in the giant panda population...
Andersen, L., Busch, J., Curran, C., Ledezma, J.C., Mayorga, J., Ruiz, P. (2014) “Environmental and socio-economic consequences of forest carbon payments in Bolivia: Results of the OSIRIS-Bolivia model.” Latin American Journal of Economic Development, 22:7-48.
From the abstract: Where in Bolivia are carbon incentive payments most likely to result in reduced deforestation? Who are most likely to benefit from REDD? How much money will it take to reduce deforestation by a given amount? To what extent might transaction costs or preferences for agricultural income undermine the goals of the REDD program?
Busch, J. (2013) “Supplementing REDD+ with biodiversity payments: The paradox of paying for multiple ecosystem services.” Land Economics, 89(4):655-675.
From the abstract: An international mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation using carbon payments (REDD+) can be leveraged to make payments for forests’ biodiversity as well. Paradoxically, under conditions consistent with emerging REDD+ programs, money spent on a mixture of carbon payments and biodiversity payments has the potential to incentivize the provision of greater climate benefits than an equal amount of money spent only on carbon payments...
Busch, J. and Grantham, H. (2013) “Parks vs. payments: reconciling divergent strategies for addressing biodiversity loss and climate change from tropical deforestation.” Environmental Research Letters, 8:034028.
From the abstract: Biodiversity loss and climate change both result from tropical deforestation, yet strategies to address biodiversity loss have focused primarily on protected areas while strategies to address climate change have focused primarily on carbon payments...This divergence of strategies and research agendas may be attributed to four factors: rare species are more heterogeneously distributed than carbon; species are more difficult to measure and monitor than carbon; species are more sensitive to ecological processes and human disturbance than carbon; and people's value for species diminishes beyond a threshold while their value for carbon storage does not...
Yang, B., Busch, J., Zhang, L., Ran, J., Gu, X., Zhang, W., Du, B., Mittermeier, R. (2013) “Eco-compensation for giant panda habitat.”Science, 339:521. (letter)
From the letter: China's achievements in giant panda conservation are now jeopardized by recent tenure reform of its 167 million hectares of collective forest...Extending the eco-compensation program to giant panda habitat could reduce the threat that tenure reform poses to the giant panda while fulfilling the intention of the reform to increase local economic benefits...
Busch, J., Ahumada, J., de Koning, F., Harvey, C.A., Hewson, J., Hole, D., Honzak, M., Panfil, S.N., Pidgeon, E., Portela, R., Steininger, M., Tabor, K., Turner, W.R. (2013) “Research spotlight: Designing nature-based mitigation to promote multiple benefits.” Carbon Management, 4(2):129-133.
From the letter: We highlight how nature-based mitigation strategies for multiple benefits can be supported by three key areas of scientific research, drawing upon examples of research by Conservation International and its partners. First, monitoring of ecosystems...Second, understanding the synergies and tradeoffs between climate change mitigation and other ecosystem benefits...And third, research on the design of policies, incentives and practices...
Busch, J., Lubowski, R., Godoy, F., Steininger, M., Yusuf, A., Austin, K., Hewson, J., Juhn, D., Farid, M. and Boltz, F. (2012). “Structuring economic incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation within Indonesia.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(4):1062-1067.
From the abstract: By making four policy improvements—paying for net emission reductions at the scale of an entire district rather than site-by-site; paying for reductions relative to reference levels that match business-as-usual levels; sharing a portion of district-level revenues with the national government; and sharing a portion of the national government's responsibility for costs with districts—an “improved voluntary incentive structure” would have been nearly as effective as a mandatory incentive structure, reducing emissions by 136–207 MtCO2e/y (17–26%) and generating a programmatic budget surplus.
Busch, J., Dave, R., Hannah, L., Cameron, A., Rasolohery, A., Roehrdanz, P. and Schatz., G. (2012). “Climate change and the cost of conserving species in Madagascar.” Conservation Biology, 24(3):408-419.
From the abstract: Climate change increased the cost of achieving the conservation target by necessitating successively more costly management actions: additional management within existing protected areas (US$0–60/ha); avoidance of forest degradation (i.e., loss of biomass) in community-managed areas ($160–576/ha); avoidance of deforestation in unprotected areas ($252–1069/ha); and establishment of forest on nonforested land within protected areas ($802–2710/ha), in community-managed areas ($962–3226/ha), and in unprotected areas ($1054–3719/ha). Our results suggest that although forest restoration may be required for the conservation of some species as climate changes, it is more cost-effective to maintain existing forest wherever possible.
Busch, J., Godoy, F., Turner, W. and Harvey, C. (2011). “Biodiversity co-benefits of reducing emissions from deforestation under alternative reference levels and levels of finance.” Conservation Letters, 4(2)101-115.
From the abstract: The extent to which an international mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) can also provide biodiversity co-benefits will depend on whether the mechanism results in the retention of forest in countries harboring substantial biodiversity...Our results indicate that elements of REDD+ that are most effective for climate change mitigation—greater finance combined with reference levels which reduce leakage by promoting broad participation across countries with both high and low historical deforestation rates—also offer the greatest benefits for biodiversity conservation.
Cattaneo, A., Lubowski, R., Busch, J., Creed, A., Strassburg, B., Boltz, F. and Ashton, R. (2010). “On international equity in reducing emissions from deforestation.” Environmental Science and Policy, 13(8):742-753.
From the abstract: If equity across countries is measured as the financial incentive provided relative to a country's forest carbon stock, then a REDD mechanism compensating a uniform share of at-risk carbon stocks is the most equitable. On the other hand, if equity is evaluated as the financial incentive relative to the opportunity costs of participating in REDD, then the most equitable approach would be compensating emissions reductions but withholding a part of the payments to compensate for carbon stocks, which also encourages broader country participation under our model.
Busch, J., Strassburg, B., Cattaneo, A., Lubowski, R., Bruner, A., Rice, R., Creed, A., Ashton, R. and Boltz, F. (2009). “Comparing climate and cost impacts of reference levels for reducing emissions from deforestation.” Environmental Research Letters, 4:044006.
From the abstract: Our results show that a REDD mechanism can provide cost-efficient climate change mitigation benefits under a broad range of reference level designs. We find that the most effective reference level designs balance incentives to reduce historically high deforestation emissions with incentives to maintain historically low deforestation emissions...
Busch, J. (2009). “Surfer and beachgoer responsiveness to coastal water quality warnings.” Coastal Management, 37:529-549.
From the abstract: Both surfing and beach-going decreased significantly following rainfall in response to the 72 hour rule, showing that recreationists are willing to engage in health risk-reducing avoiding behavior. However, neither surfing nor beach-going decreased significantly during beach advisories. Surfers were significantly more responsive to beach advisories during dry periods than during wet periods, consistent with the hypothesis that recreationists are most likely to respond to a ri7k warning that they believe provides accurate and additional health risk information beyond what they can observe personally.
Busch, J. and Cullen, R. (2009). “Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of yellow-eyed penguin recovery.” Ecological Economics, 68(3):762-776.
From the abstract: Of the three treatments that we analyze, only intensive management is significantly correlated with increases in annual site-level yellow-eyed penguin population growth rate. We estimate that intensive management increased the yellow-eyed penguin population by 9% above the counterfactual, and that the average cost of producing an additional yellow-eyed penguin nest through intensive management is NZ$68,600.
Busch, J. (2008). “Gains from configuration: The transboundary protected area as a conservation tool.” Ecological Economics, 67(3):394-404.
From the abstract: Nearly two hundred transboundary protected areas comprise a portion of the global conservation landscape the size of India, with further expansion anticipated...The paper establishes five sufficient conditions for transboundary protected areas to provide greater national welfare, domestic conservation value, or global conservation value than counterfactual isolated protected areas.
da Fonseca, G.A.B., Rodriguez, C.M., Midgley, G., Busch, J., Hannah, L. and Mittermeier, R.A. (2007). “No forest left behind.” PLoS Biology, 5(8):1645-1646.
From the article: The parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change are considering policy approaches and incentives for reducing emissions from deforestation (RED) in developing countries. The state of these discussions suggests that a key group of countries are at risk of being omitted from a new framework—those with high forest cover and low rates of deforestation (HFLD).