The purpose of this paper is to find out whether universal causal factors exist in pantropical deforestation processes. Causal models to explain deforestation are specified for two alternative dependent variables: deforestation rate and forest cover. According to our theoretical specification deforestation rate is expected to be correlated positively with population pressure and income (at low levels), as well as negatively with logging and forest clearing costs and increasing risk. Forest cover is interpreted as a negative proxy of deforestation proper and is assumed to have diametrically opposite signs in correlations with the specified factors. The two specifications are estimated with ordinary least square techniques based on the cross-sectional data primarily from the years 1980 and 1990, based on FAO FORIS database. Our model estimations show empirical support for the fact that the specified causal factors are universal underlying causes of pantropical deforestation. This is contrary to the prevailing understanding. We assume that our novel findings are primarily due to the high degrees of freedom of our analysis at the level of the 578 subnational geographical units and the improved quality of tropical deforestation data.
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- Modeling Underlying Causes of Pantropical Deforestation
- Springer Netherlands