Enhancing assessments of forest reserve areas (video)

This World Bank-sponsored TEDx video may be almost two years old, and perhaps the facts presented may be older considering the time to undertake evaluations. Yet the insights it provides to evaluating the effectiveness of protected areas may still remain relevant.

Ken Chomitz, Sr. Adviser at the Independent Evaluation Group at the World Bank initially warns against the pitfall of “naïve armchair assessment“. Using case studies in Brazil and Indonesia, Mr. Chomitz highlighted the importance to determine that a forest remains covered and avoids deforestation because of its status as a protected area, and not for its inaccessibility to further logging. Mr. Chomitz and his colleague Andrew Nelson ‘matched’ the protected areas with a control case study that has as similar terrain, climate and access to roads.

Given this more robust comparison, the results showed that no-take zone protected areas have protective impacts, but multiple-use and sustainably-managed protected areas did better than the restricted protected areas. Furthermore, forest areas managed by indigenous people have protective imipacts that are far way better impacts suggested by the naïve estimates.

Mr. Chomitz cited other experiments in evaluation, such as how availability and increasing access to data has led to innovative monitoring tools such as FORMA. Findings on another study suggest that trees in pasture lands translate to healthier cows, resulting to increased profits for the farmers. Lastly, trees store carbon and create a micro-environment that supports biodiversity.

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