Agricultural intensification escalates future conservation costs

Edited by B. L. Turner, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, and approved March 20, 2013 (received for review November 18, 2012)
April 15, 2013
110 (19) 7601-7606

Abstract

The supposition that agricultural intensification results in land sparing for conservation has become central to policy formulations across the tropics. However, underlying assumptions remain uncertain and have been little explored in the context of conservation incentive schemes such as policies for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, conservation, sustainable management, and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+). Incipient REDD+ forest carbon policies in a number of countries propose agricultural intensification measures to replace extensive “slash-and-burn” farming systems. These may result in conservation in some contexts, but will also increase future agricultural land rents as productivity increases, creating new incentives for agricultural expansion and deforestation. While robust governance can help to ensure land sparing, we propose that conservation incentives will also have to increase over time, tracking future agricultural land rents, which might lead to runaway conservation costs. We present a conceptual framework that depicts these relationships, supported by an illustrative model of the intensification of key crops in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a leading REDD+ country. A von Thünen land rent model is combined with geographic information systems mapping to demonstrate how agricultural intensification could influence future conservation costs. Once postintensification agricultural land rents are considered, the cost of reducing forest sector emissions could significantly exceed current and projected carbon credit prices. Our analysis highlights the importance of considering escalating conservation costs from agricultural intensification when designing conservation initiatives.

Continue Reading

Acknowledgments

We acknowledge Stefan Hauser (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture), Bruno Hugel and Stéphane Salim (DRC National REDD Coordination Unit), and Robert Nasi (Center for International Forestry Research) for their expert input. J.P. is supported by the Harry S. Truman Foundation and National University of Singapore. L.R.C. acknowledges funding from the Singapore Ministry of Education Grant R-154-000-527-133. L.P.K. is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Supporting Information

Supporting Information (PDF)
Supporting Information

References

1
M Kshatriya, E Sills Global Database of REDD+ and Other Forest Carbon Projects (Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia, 2010).
2
GAA Cerbu, BM Swall, DY Thompson, Locating REDD: A global survey and analysis of REDD readiness and demonstration activities. Environ Sci Policy 14, 168–180 (2011).
3
L Miles, V Kapos, Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation: Global land-use implications. Science 320, 1454–1455 (2008).
4
, eds A Angelsen, D Kaimowitz (CABI, Wallingford, UK Agricultural Technologies and Tropical Deforestation, 2001).
5
RE Green, SJ Cornell, JPW Scharlemann, A Balmford, Farming and the fate of wild nature. Science 307, 550–555 (2005).
6
R DeFries, C Rosenzweig, Toward a whole-landscape approach for sustainable land use in the tropics. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107, 19627–19632 (2010).
7
J Ghazoul, LP Koh, RA Butler, A REDD light for wildlife-friendly farming. Conserv Biol 24, 644–645 (2010).
8
D Tilman, C Balzer, J Hill, BL Befort, Global food demand and the sustainable intensification of agriculture. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108, 20260–20264 (2011).
9
GE Shively, S Pagiola, Agricultural intensification, local labor markets, and deforestation in the Philippines. Environ Dev Econ 9, 241–266 (2004).
10
EF Lambin, P Meyfroidt, Global land use change, economic globalization, and the looming land scarcity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108, 3465–3472 (2011).
11
R Pirard, K Belna, Agriculture and deforestation: Is REDD+ rooted in evidence? For Policy Econ 21, 62–70 (2012).
12
A Ziegler, et al., Transitions in SE Asia: Great uncertainty and implications for REDD+. Glob Change Biol 18, 3087–3099 (2012).
13
; Forest Carbon Partnership Facility Participating Countries Readiness Proposals (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012).
14
; Indonesia UN-REDD Indonesia National Strategy for the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Draft 1 Revised (United Nations REDD Programme, Geneva, Switzerland, 2010).
15
N Van Vliet, et al., Trends, drivers and impacts of changes in swidden cultivation in tropical forest-agriculture frontiers: A global assessment. Glob Environ Change 22, 418–429 (2012).
16
EM Ewers, JPW Scharlemann, A Balmford, RS Green, Do increases in agricultural yield spare land for nature. Glob Change Biol 15, 1716–1726 (2009).
17
RS DeFries, T Rudel, M Uriarte, M Hansen, Deforestation driven by urban population growth and agricultural trade in the twenty-first century. Nat Geosci 3, 178–181 (2010).
18
TK Rudel, et al., Agricultural intensification and changes in cultivated areas, 1970-2005. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106, 20675–20680 (2009).
19
DC Morton, et al., Cropland expansion changes deforestation dynamics in the southern Brazilian Amazon. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103, 14637–14641 (2006).
20
A Angelsen, Policies for reduced deforestation and their impact on agricultural production. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107, 19639–19644 (2010).
21
J Fischer, et al., Conservation: Limits of land sparing. Science 334, 593. (2011).
22
A Balmford, R Green, B Phalan, What conservationists need to know about farming. Proc Biol Sci 279, 2714–2724 (2012).
23
I Perfecto, J Vandermeer, The agroecological matrix as alternative to the land-sparing/agriculture intensification model. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107, 5786–5791 (2010).
24
HJ Geist, EF Lambin, Proximate causes and underlying driving forces of tropical deforestation. Bioscience 52, 143–150 (2002).
25
E Boserup The Conditions of Agricultural Growth: The Economics of Agrarian Change under Population Pressure (Allen & Unwin, London, 1965).
26
E Corbera, H Schroeder, Governing and implementing REDD. Environ Sci Policy 14, 89–99 (2010).
27
E Corbera, U Pascual, Ecosystem services: Heed social goals. Science 335, 655–656, author reply 656–657 (2012).
28
; DRC Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Environment Nature Conservation and Tourism & REDD Coordination Unit Document D’Orientation: Programme REDD+: Reduction de L’Impact de L’Agriculture de Subsistence sur la Foret (Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2010).
29
RA Butler, LP Koh, J Ghazoul, REDD in the red: Palm oil could undermine carbon payment schemes. Cons Lett 2, 67–73 (2009).
30
O Venter, et al., Harnessing carbon payments to protect biodiversity. Science 326, 1368 (2009).
31
N Laporte, et al. Reducing CO2 Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, MA, 2007).
32
NL Harris, et al., Baseline map of carbon emissions from deforestation in tropical regions. Science 336, 1573–1576 (2012).
33
; United Nations Environment Programme Université D’été REDD: Classification des Causes de Déforestation par Province (United Nations Environment Programme, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2010).
34
; DRC Ministry of Environment Nature Conservation and Tourism Democratic Republic of Congo Readiness Plan for REDD 2010-2012 (Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2010).
35
V Kasulu The Early-Action REDD+ Programmes from the DRC (Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2010).
36
; Food and Agriculture Organization Statistics Division (FAOSTAT) Crops (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Statistics, Rome, 2010).
37
F Olasantan, E Lucas, H Ezumah, Effects of intercropping and fertilizer application on weed control and performance of cassava and maize. Field Crops Res 39, 63–69 (1994).
38
; International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (ITTA) Cassava (International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Idaban, Nigeria, 2009).
39
; Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Agricultural Outlook 2012-2021 (OECD Publishing & FAO, Rome, 2012).
40
D Diaz, K Hamilton, E Johnson State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2011: From Canopy to Currency (Ecosystem Marketplace & Forest Trends, Washington, DC, 2011).
41
R Tol, The social cost of carbon: Trends, outliers and catastrophes. Ecol Econ 2, 2008–20025 (2008).
42
R Naidoo, T Iwamura, Global-scale mapping of economic benefits from agricultural lands: Implications for conservation priorities. Biol Conserv 140, 40–49 (2007).
43
Brazil Ministry of Environment (2012) ProAmbiente (ProAmbiente, Porto Alegre, Brazil). Available at http://www.proambiente.cnpm.embrapa.br/index.php.
44
B Blom, T Sunderland, D Murdiyarso, Getting REDD to work locally: Lessons learned from integrated conservation and development projects. Environ Sci Policy 13, 164–172 (2010).
45
A Angelsen, D Kaimowitz, Rethinking the causes of deforestation: Lessons from economic models. World Bank Res Obs 14, 73–98 (1999).
46
U Pascual, EB Barbier, Deprived land-use intensification in shifting cultivation: The population pressure hypothesis revisited. Agric Econ 34, 155–165 (2006).
47
R Mendelsohn, Property rights and tropical deforestation. Oxf Econ Pap 46, 750–756 (1994).
48
FJ Pichón, Colonist land-allocation decisions, land use and deforestation in the Ecuadorian Amazon frontier. Econ Dev Cult Change 45, 707–744 (1997).
49
S Grepperud, Poverty, land degradation and climatic uncertainty. Oxf Econ Pap 49, 586–608 (1997).
50
TK Rudel, B Horowitz Tropical Deforestation: Small Farmers and Land Clearing in the Ecuadorian Amazon (Columbia Univ Press, New York, 1993).
51
P Hazell, S Wood, Drivers of change in global agriculture. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 363, 495–515 (2008).
52
R López, Agricultural intensification, common property resources and the farm-household. Environ Resour Econ 11, 443–458
53
C Monfreda, N Ramankutty, JA Foley, Farming the planet: 2. Global Biogeochem Cy 22, GB1022 (2008).
54
AL Hoare The Use of Non-Timber Forest Products in the Congo Basin: Constraints and Opportunities (Rainforest Foundation, New York, 2007).
55
B Fisher, et al., Implementation and opportunity costs of reducing deforestation and forest degradation in Tanzania. Nature Clim Change 1, 161–164 (2011).
56
; Greenpeace ‘Artisanal Logging’ = Industrial Logging in Disguise: Bypassing the Moratorium on the Allocation of New Industrial Logging Concessions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Greenpeace, Washington, DC, 2012).
57
FI Nweke, HC Ezumah Cassava as Livestock Feed in Africa, eds SK Hahn, L Reynolds, GN Egbunike (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture Ibadan, Nigeria, 1988).
58
; U.S. Department of State DRC Human Rights Report (US Department of State, Washington, DC, 2008).
59
M Torras, The total economic value of Amazonian deforestation 1978-1993. Ecol Econ 33, 283–297 (2000).
60
A Farrow, A Nelson Accessibility Analyst, a Simple and Flexible GIS Tool for Deriving Accessibility Models (International Center for Tropical Agriculture, Cali, Colombia, 2001).
61
MC Hansen, et al., Humid tropical forest clearing from 2000 to 2005 quantified by using multitemporal and multiresolution remotely sensed data. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105, 9439–9444 (2008).
62
A Ruesch, HK Gibbs New IPCC Tier-1 Global Biomass Carbon Map for the Year 2000 (Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge, TN, 2008).
63
; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Uses, 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (IPCC, Hamaya, Japan) Vol 4 (2006).
64
TR Feldpausch, MA Rondon, ECM Fernandes, SJ Riha, E Wandelli, Carbon and nutrient accumulation in secondary forests regenerating on pastures in central Amazonia. Ecol Appl 14, 164–176 (2004).
65
P Potter, N Ramankutty, EM Bennett, SD Donner, Characterizing the spatial patterns of global fertilizer application and manure production. Earth Interact 14, 1–22 (2010).

Information & Authors

Information

Published in

Go to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Go to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Vol. 110 | No. 19
May 7, 2013
PubMed: 23589860

Classifications

Submission history

Published online: April 15, 2013
Published in issue: May 7, 2013

Keywords

  1. swidden
  2. slash and burn
  3. land use change
  4. payment for ecoysystem services
  5. biodiversity

Acknowledgments

We acknowledge Stefan Hauser (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture), Bruno Hugel and Stéphane Salim (DRC National REDD Coordination Unit), and Robert Nasi (Center for International Forestry Research) for their expert input. J.P. is supported by the Harry S. Truman Foundation and National University of Singapore. L.R.C. acknowledges funding from the Singapore Ministry of Education Grant R-154-000-527-133. L.P.K. is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Notes

This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.

Authors

Affiliations

Jacob Phelps1 [email protected]
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543;
Luis Roman Carrasco1 [email protected]
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543;
Edward L. Webb
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543;
Lian Pin Koh
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543;
Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zurich, Zurich 8092, Switzerland;
Unai Pascual
Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 9EP, United Kingdom;
Basque Centre for Climate Change, 48008 Bilbao, Spain; and
Basque Foundation for Science, Ikerbasque, 48011 Bilbao, Spain

Notes

1
To whom correspondence may be addressed. E-mail: [email protected] or [email protected].
Author contributions: J.P., L.R.C., E.L.W., L.P.K., and U.P. designed research; L.R.C. performed research; J.P., L.R.C., L.P.K., and U.P. contributed new reagents/analytic tools; J.P. and L.R.C. analyzed data; and J.P., L.R.C., E.L.W., and L.P.K. wrote the paper.

Competing Interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Metrics & Citations

Metrics

Note: The article usage is presented with a three- to four-day delay and will update daily once available. Due to ths delay, usage data will not appear immediately following publication. Citation information is sourced from Crossref Cited-by service.


Citation statements

Altmetrics

Citations

If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click Download.

Cited by

    Loading...

    View Options

    View options

    PDF format

    Download this article as a PDF file

    DOWNLOAD PDF

    Get Access

    Login options

    Check if you have access through your login credentials or your institution to get full access on this article.

    Personal login Institutional Login

    Recommend to a librarian

    Recommend PNAS to a Librarian

    Purchase options

    Purchase this article to get full access to it.

    Single Article Purchase

    Agricultural intensification escalates future conservation costs
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
    • Vol. 110
    • No. 19
    • pp. 7529-7959

    Media

    Figures

    Tables

    Other

    Share

    Share

    Share article link

    Share on social media