What drives the withdrawal of protected areas? Evidence about PADDD from the Brazilian Amazon

Published on 29 August 2018

By Derya Keles, Philippe Delacote, Alexander Pfaff, Siyu Qin and Michael B. Mascia

Protected areas (PAs) have been the most widely used tool to conserve ecosystem services. New PAs are created every year and the effective PAs block some economic development. Yet that opportunity cost of conservation leads PAs to have isolated locations and even to suffer considerable PA degazettements, downsizings and degradation (jointly ‘PADDD’). Adding to a sparse literature on PADDD, we assess some drivers of PAs’ size reductions, i.e., degazettements and downsizings. We base our empirical efforts upon a simple model of size reductions that result from interactions between agencies with differing objectives, conservation versus development. Gradients across space for the agency benefits and costs yield predictions about where each agency is most against, or for, size reductions for PAs. Analyzing Brazilian Amazon data from a relatively new and growing global data set from PADDDtracker, we find size reductions are influenced by: distance to cities and roads, i.e., transport that affects private profits and public enforcement costs; PA size, which affects enforcement costs; and previous deforestation in a PA, which lowers impacts of PADDD.

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