Local regulatory and economic instruments to encourage tropical forestry conservation : an analysis of the policy process in Costa Rica and Mexico
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Janelle K. Knox-Hayes.
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Forests are the most biologically diverse land ecosystems, providing shelter, jobs, and security to people who depend on them. However, global deforestation continues alarmingly; for decades, people destroyed approximately 13 million hectares (32 million acres) annually, largely in tropical countries. Today, the world loses about 3 million hectares per year - an equivalent of 11,500 soccer fields - daily, that is still a tremendous amount. This study reviews theories and evidence concerning the process of formulating and adopting forest policies. It examines the theory on dynamics of policy processes, analyzing the process that Mexico and Costa Rica follow to slow and even reverse deforestation. In addition to reviewing the publications in this field, this study provides empirical evidence by presenting the results of interviews conducted with policymakers who participated in the forest policy process in both nations, reporting on their motivations, obstacles, and other criteria relevant in a policy process. Among the public policies and policy instruments analyzed in the case studies, it reviews new forest laws, regulations, and the use of economic instruments, particularly the Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) scheme, as part of each country's effort to more effectively maintain forest cover. The literature review reveals that, in the history of conservation and environmental policy, there are successes and failures in implementing different policies using incentives or regulations. Not all approaches fit the individual conservation/use objectives in every country or region. Hence, countries cannot use a single recipe to define their forestry policies; they are more likely to succeed if they use a combination of approaches, instruments, and tools. As this thesis shows, leadership from high-ranking people is a key element in a successful policy process. Direct participation from those involved is also a positive step in the process. The introduction of certain economic instruments has enabled regional planners and policymakers to halt deforestation and, in the case of Costa Rica, even to increase forest cover. However, it is necessary to highlight that those instruments came to exist as part of a new law that includes incentives and sanctions, eliminates perverse incentives, and dictates measures regarding land tenure and land-use change.
Thesis: Ph. D. in Urban and Regional PLanning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2018.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 179-193).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.