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Conservation Return on Investment Analysis: Three Case Studies

An increasing number of conservation projects designed to address ecological management, protection, and restoration are being judged based on the investment returns they are able to produce. The costs, benefits, and risks of these projects can all be assessed using conservation return on investment (ROI) analysis, a method to help conservancies prioritize possible programs based […]

A Tale of Two Parks (In One)

Without intending to, the team of civil servants that in 1990 created Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) launched a forest conservation policy experiment. In an ecologically rich region where ranchers and farmers were illegally clearing forests at an astounding clip, they established a huge (two million hectare) protected area with two distinct management regimes—a core […]

Valuing Conservation in the Context of Climate Change

In the twentieth century, flooding caused more deaths and property damage in the United States than any other natural disaster. Most climate models predict that flooding will worsen in the future, a prospect that is leading a growing number of communities to explore the use of natural areas as protection against extreme events. These areas […]

Sourcing the Future of Wood Bioenergy

Some of the biggest bioenergy debates stem from a “food or fuel” problem, where agricultural lands have been devoted to growing grain as inputs for biofuels, at the cost of food production. According to a study by Searchinger et. al. of corn-based ethanol production, the large scale substitution  of corn ethanol over traditional fossil fuels […]

Paying Ecuador to Protect the Rainforest

A recent episode of NPR’s Planet Money discussed Ecuador’s proposed solution to a national dilemma: the fact that a massive oil discovery and a national park happen to be in the same place. Ecuador’s proposal is to forswear drilling – but only if other countries donate half the value of the oil in aid (about $3.6 […]

This Week in the RFF Library Blog

Each week, we review the papers, studies, reports, and briefings posted at the “indispensable” RFF Library Blog, curated by RFF Librarian Chris Clotworthy. Check out this week’s highlights below: Opportunities and Obstacles in Large-Scale Biomass Utilization: The Role of the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Communities: A Workshop Summary Based on a one-day public workshop held […]

Will Biotech Help Bring Back the American Chestnut?

Over a hundred years ago, in 1904, the chief forester Herman Merkel of New York Zoological Park grew concerned as the American chestnut trees under his watch were dying off. Chestnut blight had entered the United States. It is caused by a rapidly spreading airborne fungus, which was accidentally introduced with imported Asian chestnut trees. […]

The Next Decade of Forest Management

In last week’s RFF First Wednesday discussion, the inaugural event in RFF’s Resources 2020 anniversary series of lectures, experts emphasized urgently the need to tackle the problem of rapidly declining forest health. Biotechnology (in the form of genetically modified trees) offers promise but it is pushing the boundaries of regulatory institutions. For example, three agencies […]

RFF Report: An Assessment of U.S. Forest-Climate Assistance

While the impacts of climate change become more obvious almost by the day, comprehensive action by the international community and by the United States seem distant. At the same time, the window for diverting global greenhouse gas emissions towards a two degree Celsius pathway is quickly closing. In my view, one of the only ways […]

RFF POLICY COMMENTARY: The Carbon Footprint of Wood for Bioenergy

This week, the RFF Policy Commentary series is relaunched with an exploration of a controversial topic—carbon emissions from biomass energy. Proponents claim that biomass is an abundant source of energy with no net carbon emissions—a closed carbon loop. Critics argue that that biomass use will directly or indirectly lead to greater carbon emissions, and that […]