Deforestation — Institutional Causes and Solutions
I propose to explore here the institutional dimensions of what is generally regarded as “deforestation.” Before proceeding, the concept of deforestation requires some clarification. I will employ the limiting definition of deforestation and regard it as the intentional and permanent transition in vegetative cover from that which is clearly “forest” (regardless of the commercial or aesthetic value of the trees, Box 1.1 in this Volume) to that which is clearly devoted to other uses — with trees seen as undesirable invaders. By this definition, the clear cutting of portions of a forest with the intention of allowing regeneration of trees does not qualify as deforestation — even though all the trees are removed at a certain time. In other words, the central idea here is the intended permanence of a change in land use from the growing of trees to some other purpose. In that sense, deforestation is a land-use issue more than it is a “forestry” issue — though the implication for the practice of forestry on the parcels under consideration is profound. This definition removes us from concern for timber management practices (clear-cutting versus selective harvesting) and places our focus on the conversion of land cover and land use.
KeywordsLand Cover Market Failure Institutional Dimension Tropical Deforestation Property Regime
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