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Tag: biodiversity

Conservation Impacts of Voluntary Sustainability Standards: how has our understanding changed

K.Komives, A.Arton, E.Baker, C.Longo, D.Newsom, A.Pfaff, C.Romero
Meridian Institute (

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In 2012, a committee of international experts from academia, business, and civil society published Toward Sustainability: The Roles and Limitations of Certification. In addition to describing the history, key features and actors in voluntary standard systems (VSS), the report summarized the state of knowledge regarding VSS use and their potential to achieve conservation and other goals. It also enumerated existing evidence about VSS impacts, finding few studies and weak study designs. Since then, considerable effort has been made to fill research gaps. In this report, we review new VSS studies in the agricultural, forestry, marine fisheries and aquaculture sectors to revisit the issue of the state of knowledge about their conservation impacts and, going forward, consider how best to advance VSS impacts research.


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Protecting forests, biodiversity, and the climate: predicting policy impact to improve policy choice

Alexander Pfaff, Juan Robalino
Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Volume 28, Number 1, 2012, pp. 164–179

PDF link iconPolicies must balance forest conservation’s local costs with its benefits—local to global—in terms of biodiversity, the mitigation of climate change, and other eco-services such as water quality. The trade-offs with development vary across forest locations. We argue that considering location in three ways helps to predict policy impact and improve policy choice: (i) policy impacts vary by location because baseline deforestation varies with characteristics (market distances, slopes, soils, etc.) of locations in a landscape; (ii) different mixes of political-economic pressures drive the location of different policies; and (iii) policies can trigger ‘second-order’ or ‘spillover’ effects likely to differ by location. We provide empirical evidence that suggests the importance of all three considerations, by reviewing highquality evaluations of the impact of conservation and development on forest. Impacts of well-enforced conservation rise with private clearing pressure, supporting (i). Protection types (e.g. federal/state) differ in locations and thus in impacts, supporting (ii). Differences in development process explain different signs for spillovers, supporting (iii).


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