IS there an environmental Kuznets curve for deforestation in the Asia Pacific?

Maskiell, Alexander (2010). IS there an environmental Kuznets curve for deforestation in the Asia Pacific? Master's Thesis, School of Economics, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Maskiell, Alexander
Thesis Title IS there an environmental Kuznets curve for deforestation in the Asia Pacific?
School, Centre or Institute School of Economics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010
Thesis type Master's Thesis
Supervisor Dr Fabrizio Carmignani
Total pages 75
Language eng
Subjects 340202 Environment and Resource Economics
Formatted abstract

This study uses regression analysis to investigate whether there is an Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC), an inverse-U relationship between environmental damage and income, for deforestation in the Asia Pacific. Deforestation is chosen as the indicator of environmental damage because it has important ecological consequences, such as carbon dioxide emissions and biodiversity loss, as well as social and economic consequences. The focus is on the Asia Pacific region because these forests are particularly rich in biodiversity, are especially important to the welfare of the local people, and because, despite research having suggested that deforestation in Asia is different to deforestation in Latin America and Africa, no EKC studies have focused specifically on deforestation in the Asia Pacific. Moreover, South-East Asian countries have had some of the highest deforestation rates in recent years and reducing deforestation in the region is becoming increasingly important for Australia's climate change mitigation efforts. This study estimates a regression model based on an analysis of the specific causes of deforestation in the Asia Pacific using 2010 forest data and finds evidence for a reverse EKC relationship; a U-shape rather than an inverted U-shape. With the EKC unsupported, the attention turns to the other variables in search of insight into how to reduce deforestation in the region. Rural population density and adult literacy are found to be insignificant, while trade openness and the share of forest product exports in GDP increase deforestation, and population density, institutional quality, and agricultural productivity decrease deforestation. This suggests that policies targeted at agricultural productivity and institutional quality, especially the configuration of property rights, have promise as means of reducing deforestation in the region. However, deforestation can only be seriously addressed by remedying its root cause: standing forests have no economic value. It is suggested that non-market valuation techniques and payments for avoided deforestation are two important components in a strategy to confer to standing forests the necessary economic value.  

Keyword Deforestation -- Pacific Area
Deforestation -- Asia
Environmental Economics Asia

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (non-RHD) - UQ staff and students only
 
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