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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

Leakage implications for European timber markets from reducing deforestation in developing countries

Jonsson, Ragnar; Mbongo , Werner; Felton , Adam; Boman, Mattias


Forest management strategies and policies such as REDD (reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) may have unintentional implications for forest sectors in countries not targeted by such policies. The success of a policy effort like REDD would result in a significant reduction in deforestation and forest degradation and an ensuing reduction in the supply of natural forest timber production within participating countries. This could in turn result in price increases, inducing a supply response outside project boundaries with possible implications for forest management as well as global carbon emissions. This paper reviews the literature to discern potential timber market implications for countries sourcing wood products from developing countries affected by REDD related conservation efforts. The literature reviewed shows varying degrees of market effects leakage—policy actions in one place creating incentives for third parties to increase timber harvesting elsewhere through the price mechanism—ranging from negligible to substantial. However, wood products in the studies reviewed are dealt with on quite an aggregated scale and are assumed to be more or less perfect substitutes for wood products outside conservation effort boundaries. The review suggests that a thorough mapping of the end-uses of tropical timber is needed to comprehensively analyze impacts on wood-product markets in regions such as Europe from conservation efforts in tropical developing countries. The types of tropical timber expected to be affected, in which applications they are used, which are the most likely substitutes and where they would be sourced, are issues that, along with empirical analysis of supply and demand price elasticities and degree of substitutability, should be investigated when assessing the overall effectiveness of REDD.


REDD; Leakage; Conservation; Timber market

Published in

2012, Volume: 3, number: 3, pages: 736-744