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Title:Three essays on conservation: policy design, risk management and impact evaluation
Author(s):Shah, Payal
Director of Research:Ando, Amy W.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ando, Amy W.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Baylis, Katherine R.; Garcia, Philip; Mallory, Mindy L.; Ferraro, Paul J.
Department / Program:Agr & Consumer Economics
Discipline:Agricultural & Applied Econ
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
portfolio optimization
downside risk
Abstract:In this dissertation, I use economic tools to address pressing issues associated with designing and managing conservation programs and evaluating the effectiveness of those programs. In the first essay, I derive the levels of policy instruments such as lump sum payments and annual subsidies that are sufficient to forestall conversion of private land to commercial activities that increase deforestation. This study assumes that private landowners face uncertainties in the benefits that they can get from competing land use alternatives, namely, conservation and conversion. The two main questions that this study answers are: 1) what is the value to private landowners of holding on to the ability to choose to convert their land at a future date? 2) How large do financial incentives have to be to convince the private landowner to give up this option of future conversion? The results from this study can guide a variety of conservation initiatives in designing more effective payment mechanisms to achieve ecological preservation goals on private lands. Climate change uncertainty makes it difficult to predict future conservation outcomes across a planning landscape. The second essay of my dissertation contributes to development of methods for spatial conservation portfolios by developing a tractable approach to manage the downside risk associated with climate-change induced variation in future conservation outcomes across space. This work identifies risk-reducing portfolio of conservation activity across space when conservation returns are non-normally distributed or when conservation agents are particularly averse to deviations in returns below a target level. The third essay of my dissertation uses a spatial matching technique to evaluate the impact of protection on forest degradation within protected areas using spatial econometrics for Indonesia between 2000 and 2010. My results illustrate a wide variation in forest degradation across the different island-regions of Indonesia. The results from the non-parametric matching technique illustrate that protected areas across Indonesia have been effective in reducing forest degradation in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua but exhibit an increase in forest degradation in Java and Sulawesi.
Issue Date:2013-05-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Payal Shah
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-24
Date Deposited:2013-05

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