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Frequent policy uncertainty can negate the benefits of forest conservation policy

Simmons, B. Alexander, Marcos-Martinez, Raymundo, Law, Elizabeth A., Bryan, Brett A. and Wilson, Kerrie A. 2018, Frequent policy uncertainty can negate the benefits of forest conservation policy, Environmental science and policy, vol. 89, pp. 401-411, doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2018.09.011.

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Title Frequent policy uncertainty can negate the benefits of forest conservation policy
Author(s) Simmons, B. Alexander
Marcos-Martinez, Raymundo
Law, Elizabeth A.
Bryan, Brett A.ORCID iD for Bryan, Brett A. orcid.org/0000-0003-4834-5641
Wilson, Kerrie A.
Journal name Environmental science and policy
Volume number 89
Start page 401
End page 411
Total pages 11
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2018-11
ISSN 1462-9011
1873-6416
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Environmental Sciences
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Australia
Environmental policy
Forest transition
Perverse outcomes
Policy impact
Remnant vegetation
SPATIAL PANEL-DATA
TROPICAL DEFORESTATION
BRIGALOW BELT
LAND-USE
DEVELOPING-COUNTRIES
REGULATORY POLICY
BRAZILIAN AMAZON
DATA MODELS
QUEENSLAND
Summary Policy-driven shifts from net deforestation to forest expansion are being stimulated by increasing social preferences for forest ecosystem services. However, policy uncertainty can disrupt or reverse the positive effects of forest transitions. For instance, if the loss of remnant (primary) forest continues, the ecological benefits of net forest gains may be small. We investigated how peak periods of uncertainty in forest conservation policy affected forest transition outcomes in Queensland, Australia, as well as a globally-relevant biodiversity hotspot in the state, the Brigalow Belt South (BBS) bioregion. Political, socioeconomic, and biophysical factors associated with net forest cover change and remnant forest loss from 1991 to 2014 were identified through spatial longitudinal analysis. This informed a Bayesian structural causal impact assessment of command-and-control regulation and policy uncertainty on remnant and non-remnant forest cover. The results indicate that forest cover was negatively influenced by increasing temperatures, food prices, and policy uncertainty, and positively influenced by strengthening regulation. Regulation during 2007–2014 avoided 68,620 ± 19,214 km2of deforestation (with 18,969 ± 10,340 km2of this in remnant forests) throughout Queensland, but was ineffective on remnant forests in the BBS. For state-wide remnant forests, perverse effects from policy uncertainty (e.g. pre-emptive deforestation) were strong enough to negate regulatory impacts. This study reveals a cautionary tale for conservation policy: despite strict environmental regulations, forest transition can be delayed (or reversed) when political inconsistency or instability provoke unintended reactions from landholders.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.envsci.2018.09.011
Field of Research 05 Environmental Sciences
16 Studies In Human Society
07 Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2018, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivatives licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30114605

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.