Welcome to the 5th IEF Lecture Webinar this Saturday, April 24!
Natural resources economist Dr. Michael Richards will speak about Deforestation – Interconnected Causes and Solutions
April 24th 2021
1pm EDT, 18:00 GMT (UK), 19:00 CET, 22:30 IST (New Delhi)
This talk presents a personal view of the causes of, and solutions to, tropical deforestation, reflecting my professional experience. Following a brief review of the environmental, social and economic importance of forests, I look at the main causes of deforestation and forest degradation, both the direct or immediate drivers and the underlying causes. Most of these are values or consumer education-related (e.g., illegal logging, governance of concession allocation, state or corporate land grabs, unsustainable food commodity supply chains, etc.) but some, for example, associated with poverty drivers, subsistence food and hydropower production, are more nuanced. I will then look at some of the main international strategies that have been promoted to counteract deforestation, including those linked to the Paris Agreement, and discuss why, while in some countries there have been temporary success stories, these have not proved sustainable due primarily to national and international political economy issues. The presentation particularly explores the ‘win-win’ potential of a ‘rights-based’ approach that involves supporting the land rights and forest management practices of forest-dependent communities, especially indigenous peoples. Another vital strategy is a carbon tax. But ultimately any effective and durable solution comes back to global governance and the values that underpin it.
Dr Michael Richards is a natural resources economist with 40 years experience in Latin America, Asia and Africa. The early years of his career were spent working on smallholder farming systems in Malawi, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Honduras and Ghana, mainly on UK government aid projects. Since the early 1990s his work for various international NGOs and UN agencies has focused on policy, social and institutional issues around the sustainable management and conservation of tropical forests, and with a particular focus on participatory forest management and planning, payments for ecosystem services, forest governance and trade. During the last decade this has been mainly in South and South-East Asia.