Eroding resilience of deforestation interventions — evidence from Brazil's lost decade

Nikolas Kuschnig*, Lukas Vashold, Aline C Soterroni, Michael Obersteiner

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Brazil once set the example for curtailing deforestation with command and control policies, but, in the last decade, these interventions have gone astray. Environmental research and policy today are largely informed by the earlier successes of deforestation interventions, but not their recent failures. Here, we investigate the resilience of deforestation interventions. We discuss how the recent trend reversal in Brazil came to be, and what its implications for the design of future policies are. We use newly compiled information on environmental fines in an econometric model to show that the enforcement of environmental policy has become ineffective in recent years. Our results add empirical evidence to earlier studies documenting the erosion of the institutions responsible for forest protection, and highlight the considerable deforestation impacts of this erosion. Future efforts for sustainable forest protection should be aimed at strengthening institutions, spreading responsibilities, and redistributing the common value of forests via incentive-based systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number074039
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number7
Early online date20 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2023

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