Local impacts of tropical forest logging: joint estimation of revealed and stated preference data from Ruteng, Indonesia: David T. Butry and Subhrendu K. Pattanayak
Introduction Currently, forests constitute 25 percent of the earth’s land surface area, but this is a reduction, possibly of up to a half, of that existing during pre-agricultural times (World Resources Institute 2000). Tropical deforestation, in particular, is of global concern, prompting leaders to seek protection for these natural resources. Forested ecosystems provide a plethora of goods and services. The World Resources Institute (WRI) distinguishes between the two-goods include timber, fuelwood, drinking and irrigation water, fodder, non-timber forest products (such as vines, bamboo, leaves), food (honey, mushrooms, fruits), genetic resources; whereas services consist of the removal of air pollutants, emission of oxygen, cycling of nutrients, maintenance of watershed functions and biodiversity, the sequestering of carbon, the moderation of weather extremes, the generation of soil, providing employment opportunities, provide human and wildlife habitat (two-thirds of all terrestrial species reside within the forest), contribute to aesthetic beauty, and provide recreation. However, sometimes the ideals of protection and preservation are at odds with the rights of those indigenous peoples residing in or around these tropical forests. The debate over tropical forest conservation is contentious in part because there is little or no information on whether or how tropical forest conservation affects local economic development. This study takes a quantitative approach to fill this policy gap by estimating models and testing hypotheses regarding local use and reliance on tropical forests in the Manggarai region of eastern Indonesia. The goal is to provide some policy information on the highly charged debate regarding the unequal distribution of costs and benefits of environmental conservation in tropical developing countries. Critics of tropical forest protection contend that it generates largely global benefits, such as biodiversity conservation, recreation, and ecological services, while it imposes sizeable opportunity costs on local people who are denied access to or use of forest resources (Kremen et al. 2000). Local benefits of biodiversity, recreation, and ecological services are typically indirect and latent, in contrast to seemingly transparent and sizeable opportunity costs of protection borne by local economies.