Inequality promotes deforestation in Latin America

What can’t you show with models?~ctm

From EurekAlert!

University of Bern

Caption Professor Dr. Michele Graziano Ceddia. Credit Manu Friedrich Usage Restrictions None

Tropical deforestation is a major contributor to climate change and loss of local and global ecosystem functions. Latin America accounts for a large share of remaining tropical forests, but also features deforestation rates well above the world average. Here, the biggest driver of deforestation is expansion of agricultural frontiers to meet the demands of international markets. Power imbalances and economic inequality have long been assumed to play a role in the processes causing loss of tropical forests. Yet the effects of inequality on the environment remain a subject of scientific debate. Some observers suggest that increasing inequality hinders the collective action necessary to protect the environment. Others suggest that powerful elites concerned about environmental conservation can enable better ecosystem preservation – for example by mandating large protected areas.

A new study carried out by Graziano Ceddia at the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, takes a first-ever look at the specific links between different forms of inequality, increasing agricultural productivity, and farmland expansion at the expense of forests in Latin America. The study shows that greater inequality increases deforestation, and less inequality better protects forests in the long-term. The findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Using productivity gains to protect forests

Increasing agricultural productivity (output per hectare) has the potential to reduce pressure on remaining forests, sparing land for nature while continuing to meet global food demands. But it can also increase the profitability of farming and incentivize the conversion of more forests to cropland.

Previous research led by Graziano Ceddia shows that improvement of agricultural productivity alone is not enough to prevent agricultural expansion and deforestation in Latin America. Instead, the institutional context is vital, including environmental policies, rules, and regulations.

“We know that different forms of inequality can significantly impact how environmental laws are formulated”, says Ceddia. The novelty of this study is its explicit investigation of the interaction between agricultural productivity, farmland expansion at the expense of forests, and various forms of inequality.

Advice for policymakers

The study examines three different forms of inequality: income, land, and wealth. Levels of inequality are higher and longer-lasting in the case of land ownership and wealth. The results of the study suggest that – in a hypothetical situation of equality – increases in agricultural productivity would promote deforestation in the short-term. But in a longer-term “equality scenario”, higher agricultural productivity would actually lead to better protection of forests. The study shows, however, that increases in all forms of inequality ultimately promote agricultural expansion, eroding the potential environmental benefits of greater productivity. The results also indicate that the effect of income inequality is greater than that of land or wealth inequality.

One possible explanation for the findings is that income, land, and wealth inequality hinder the societal cooperation needed to protect forests. It could also be that agricultural expansion is easier and cheaper when land ownership is concentrated in a few hands.

Today, Latin America features some of the highest levels of inequality in the world. “If we want to ensure that increased agricultural productivity serves to protect tropical forests, then the message to policymakers is clear”, says Graziano Ceddia. “More equal distribution of income, wealth, and land ownership is not only fairer, but also an effective means of improving environmental protection”.


Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

CDE is Switzerland’s centre of excellence for sustainable development. One of the University of Bern’s strategic research centres, we are tasked with mainstreaming sustainability throughout the university’s research and teaching. In coordination with the global sustainable development goals stipulated in Agenda 2030, the CDE formulates proposed solutions and initiates processes of transformation which distribute the gains and risks of globalisation more fairly, protect natural resources, and support global well-being. The CDE employs some 100 employees from 17 disciplines and is active in five regions of the global south as well as Switzerland and Europe. The CDE is currently realising 50 projects with an annual turnover of more than CHF 15 million. Teaching and education form an important part of the work of the CDE. The CDE offers teaching programmes in the field of sustainable development at the bachelor’s, masters, doctorate and postgraduate levels, and currently has more than 500 students.


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January 26, 2019 2:12 am

Its called overpopulation. Send them condoms not money.


Viktor Vargas
Reply to  Michael
January 26, 2019 4:20 am

In the case of Brazil (Amazon), forests are being destroyed not by poor people, but by large, very rich groups that exploit commodities for export.
There is a cycle: cutting the forest, raising livestock, planting soybeans and then abandoning the land, to another more fertile (and a new cycle begins…).
This wealth is not to support the needs of the people “who never stop reproducing.”
But to fill the pockets of a few locals farmers and many speculators around the world. Only that.

Reply to  Viktor Vargas
January 26, 2019 9:04 am

Did you ever consider that only a small percentage of people can successfully manage agriculture to the point if having surpluses to export, and that everyone benefits? Did not Zimbabwe teach you anything?

I believe it was Heinlein who said:
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as “bad luck.”

A rising tide lifts all ships.

D. Anderson
Reply to  jtom
January 26, 2019 9:12 am

Can’t feed your kid with platitudes.

“A rising tide lifts all ships.”

Reply to  D. Anderson
January 26, 2019 1:26 pm

How well are people feeding their kids in Venezuela?

Reply to  D. Anderson
January 26, 2019 2:22 pm

You can when those platitudes accurately describe reality.

Reply to  Viktor Vargas
January 26, 2019 2:15 pm

Yes, it is because of over breeding. Plain & simple.

Everything grown is met to satisfy demand, demand that would not be as great if certain people did not breed like rabbits.

Over population is THE cause of so many of today’s problems. And somehow it’s always Euro whites who must foot the bill and falsely accept the blame for others irresponsible behavior.

Reply to  Wally
January 26, 2019 2:23 pm

We are no where close to being over crowded. Over population isn’t causing the problems, corruption and socialism are.

Reply to  Michael
January 26, 2019 4:59 am

Steven Pinker points out that extreme poverty is at the lowest levels ever. link As people become more prosperous they don’t breed as much. They also value the environment more.

Our prosperity is largely due to fossil fuels. Allowing the third world to become prosperous will protect the rain forests much more than anything else we can do. Fossil fuels are the key.

Reply to  commieBob
January 26, 2019 6:54 am


Sorry mate, I should have read what you posted before I posted. Yours is much more succinct.

Reply to  commieBob
January 26, 2019 9:11 am

And so of course the real cause is poverty not inequality. But that wouldn’t fit the political message.

Reply to  Michael
January 26, 2019 6:53 am

Big families mean security and income for the elderly in poverty stricken areas.

Send condoms and men just wear them on their head when they get drunk on their local hooch.

As well as allowing them access to fossil fuel energy which allows them to generate income, the international community might consider helping them take care of the elderly thus eradicating one major driver of over population where it can be least afforded.

Fossil fuel derived energy also stops the ‘illegal’ loggers from cutting down forests to provide cooking and heating fuel for towns and cities. It also reduces the incidence of respiratory related conditions predicted by the WHO to kill 12,000,000 people by 2050.

Fossil fuels aren’t the enemy here, they are the solution, but the greens are just too obsessed with their left wing ideologically driven obsessions to recognise it. Apart from that they would be out of a job, and we can’t have that now, can we.

Reply to  HotScot
January 26, 2019 8:46 am

“A new study carried out by Graziano Ceddia at the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, takes a first-ever look at the specific links between different forms of inequality, increasing agricultural productivity, and farmland expansion at the expense of forests in Latin America. The study shows that greater inequality increases deforestation, and less inequality better protects forests in the long-term. The findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

This paper is just more Marxist propaganda – more watermelon nonsense. The far-left took over the environmental movement after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall.

Read Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore’s essay, “Hard Choices for the Environmental Movement”, written in 1994, especially “The Rise of Eco-Extremism” for the evidence of this leftist takeover:

To honour the neo-Marxist Progressive movement, the good people at KFC just came out with their Progressive Bucket – left-wings and a$$holes.

January 26, 2019 10:42 am


My late father in law was a Senior Forester with the UN in the 50’s through to the late 80’s. Things have doubtless changed since his retirement and death a few years ago whilst in his 90’s, but he despised the interfering greens. He also despised SJW’s like Bob Geldof who was one of the organisers of Band Aid and Live Aid.

The old man said 90% of the money (at least) raised by these people would never reach the people presented, for virtue signalling self promotion of obscenely wealthy, pop music, celebrity parasites (his words…..amongst many other more colourful descriptions I daren’t commit to print), as recipients of the public’s contributions.

The old man was a ‘hands on’ official, as happy to clear brush as manage the clearing of it. African locals had a name for him which translated to “Man with big voice who forgives”. He was evidently a hard taskmaster but sat down with the workers at the end of the day for a refreshment he described as, frequently something you wouldn’t put in your car engine. Nor was all of this from his account, I met an old colleague of his by complete accident and with little prompting he recited the same tales, almost word for word.

We personally didn’t see eye to eye but his insight into the practicalities of forestry management in equatorial regions was encyclopaedic.

In his day illegal loggers were enterprising businessmen who cut down the surrounding natural resources to provide fuel for towns and cities. The idea that they provided substantial amounts of timber to be exported to the west was largely fallacious. These were simple organisation without the international wherewithal, the infrastructure, logistics nor the motivation to accomplish such a task.

They were followed by farmers who burned the undergrowth and farmed the land until the nutrients were exhausted which was about 3 years. What the greens like to present is images of smouldering forests. What they don’t tell us is that most of the timber has been utilised for local consumption and the burning was done as preparation for farming.

In his opinion farmers who provided for McDonalds etc. were rather well run with access to fertilisers, machinery, business knowledge and international contacts that enabled them to run their farms efficiently and productively. That’s not to suggest there weren’t rogues but on the whole he was impressed.

Similarly, commercial loggers viewed the forests as their farm. They would carefully plan (with his help) the best way to cultivate areas of forestry with 100 (at least) year targets for regeneration etc. so they never ran out of the resources they considered very precious.

He didn’t like the damage caused by illegal loggers and farmers but as he said “What the hell are these people supposed to do for fuel?” The greens contaminated the prospect of saving forests by the simple expedient of mining because……it destroyed the forest!

So now there are uncontrolled, unregulated mines over the region, as well as illegal loggers, both destroying the forest with no regard as to it’s regeneration, using child labour in appalling conditions. But that’s OK with the greens.

Any wonder the old man despised these interfering SJW’s.

Reply to  Michael
January 26, 2019 7:44 am

No over population.
Condoms do no good.
If you want to reduce population, eliminate poverty first.

Rhys Jaggar
January 26, 2019 2:37 am

I think the concept of agricultural asset stripping needs to be raised.

Simplistic descriptions of ‘agricultural productivity’ completely miss the mark. Short term monocrop agriculture plus fertilisers destroys soil health, erodes top soil and leaves land dead within fifty years.

Western agriculture is all about asset stripping of soil capital.

In 200 years, the USA has destroyed its soil capital.

Reply to  Rhys Jaggar
January 26, 2019 3:04 am

And yet US agricultural productivity continues to increase. A wonderment!

Rich Davis
Reply to  Rhys Jaggar
January 26, 2019 4:53 am

What a load of EurekAlert! Rhys.

Around where I live, farmers have been growing corn and tobacco for over 200 years. It used to be “knee high by the fourth of July” but in recent memory, it always exceeds that standard. I guess that’s because the land has been dead for seven generations?

R Shearer
Reply to  Rich Davis
January 26, 2019 5:54 am

You must be incorrect. Those farms and fields must be figments of your imagination.

Rather, we must slash and burn rain forests and plant palm and sugar cane to displace fossil fuels. Only by destroying the environment can we protect it.

Rich Davis
Reply to  R Shearer
January 26, 2019 7:23 am

Yes, you’re probably right. I suppose that the legendary Connecticut rain forest was very lush 390 years ago before whitey started with all that slash and burn agriculture.

Reply to  Rhys Jaggar
January 26, 2019 4:58 am

I agree in principle, but it terms of output it really doesn’t matter when fertilizer is available. And soil isn’t even necessary for some things. Lots of vegetables can be grown in gravel or equivalent (aquaponics) or simply water (hydroponics).

Reply to  Rhys Jaggar
January 26, 2019 7:00 am

Rhys Jaggar

The problem isn’t fertilisers, it’s the lack of them.

The soil is poor which doesn’t help but the use of fertilisers can increase the useful life of land conventionally useful for about three years of declining crops.

The problem is modern fertilisers rely on lots of energy, traditionally fossil fuel derived energy which these people just don’t have enough of. So they slash and burn an area (or the ‘illegal’ loggers often do it for them) they can’t fertilise, so move on after 3 years. The land frequently dries out quickly and turns to dust which facilitates flash floods when there is no vegetation to stop them.

Reply to  Rhys Jaggar
January 26, 2019 8:54 am

Sure Rhys. During my undergrad years (early 60s) at a mid-western US university, the BIG SCARE was that corn belt soils were all but dead already and would be nutrient dead by 1970. Since then corn has gone from 100 to 200 bu/ac and the same soil is being planted. Farmers and aggies aren’t stupid. They know how to rotate crops, add residues back into the soil and amend soil as necessary with micronutrients. Well, here we are more than 50 years later and still chugging along. The changes in agriculture during my lifetime are phenomenal. Mistakes have been made and corrected, and that will continue. Most major mistakes today relate to the “green movement” and economics. Using precious ground water to irrigate dry areas to produce grain for biofuels is a bad policy.

Reply to  R2Dtoo
January 26, 2019 10:50 am


Brilliant comment.

January 26, 2019 3:01 am

Palm oil for biofuel (renewable energy to “tackle climate change”) anybody?

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
January 26, 2019 5:08 am

Good comment Phillip. “Food-for-fuel” is typically anti-environmental and anti-human.

All economic systems are imperfect, including capitalism – get over it. Capitalism is still infinitely better than the alternatives.

Leftists (aka Marxists, Progressives, Socialists, Greens, etc.) are the great killers of our age – Stalin and Mao killed about 130 million of their own people and Hitler killed more than 50 million in WW2. Then there are the lesser leftist killers, like Pol Pot in Cambodia. Greens have killed almost as many more with their phony wars against DDT/malaria and CO2/global warming.

Greens can also take credit for the food-for-fuels fiasco, the clear-cutting of the rainforest to grow sugar cane for ethanol and palm oil for biodiesel, the rapid draining of the Ogallala aquifer for corn ethanol and biodiesel, bird-and-bat-chopping wind turbines, runaway energy costs and reduced grid reliability, increased winter mortality and similar social and environmental disasters.

January 26, 2019 10:41 am

Well said Alan. Thank you.

January 26, 2019 11:03 am


The old man worked in Cuba and knew Fidel, but his brother Raul much better.

Their pride and joy was their state run hospitals and the old man said they were genuinely impressive, at least as good as the UK’s NHS (in those days).

The only problem was they sucked the country dry of money and locals would find any excuse for a good night rest in them, including self harming.

The old man established a process of forest clearing and re-cultivation with more appropriate timber, building wood, pulp and paper mills on an enormous scale to capitalise on the materials harvested, importing machinery with UN money (actually the truth is the Castro’s simply snapped their fingers and shiploads of USSR kit was delivered, some of it very good and all of it within weeks or months whilst western kit took a year or more to arrive) over five years or so.

The day the old man left Cuba, the Castro’s were selling the machinery and equipment donated by the UN and the Russians on the international market.

That’s how socialism (aka communism) works.

Reply to  HotScot
January 27, 2019 3:51 am

Hi HotScot – sounds like I would enjoy the old man – we could have solved all the world’s problems over a pint. 🙂

I went through Checkpoint Charlie into East Germany in July 1989, during the last days of the dreaded Honecker regime. The Berlin Wall fell four months later. I was also in Fidel Castro’s Cuba when he was in power, for a Board of Directors meeting. Both countries were vicious dictatorships.

I have managed major projects on six continents and every “socialist” country is much the same – an evil king at the top, looking down at all the peasants. I have never seen such terrible waste and pollution as I saw in socialist countries.

All these countries under leftist rule were repressive, grossly mismanaged at every level, incredibly dysfunctional. The Progressives (aka Marxists,., but many are too stupid to realise it) think they will do it better this time. They won’t.

Look at the energy debacle that is Germany today, or Britain, or Australia, or Ontario Canada. It takes a special form of leftist incompetence to greatly increase energy costs AND reduce grid reliability, AND these green energy schemes do not even reduce (falsely demonized) CO2 emissions!

It is difficult to believe that anyone could be this gullible and stupid, and yet these are the direct disastrous results of green energy policies. It is easier to believe that the Greens are deliberately trying to harm the economy, like Mugabe did in Zimbabwe and Chavez did in Venezuela – perhaps that is their true intent – to rule like kings over a once-prosperous, now-ruined state.

Anyone who has ever voted for these leftist villains should stay home on election day – they are far too stupid to vote.

January 26, 2019 3:23 am

There was an article in the breakthrough institute on cheap energy from the TVA and how it affected agricultural productivity, poverty and the environment.
It’s a good read particularly in light of renewable energy driving power costs higher with current technology.

Reply to  Sean
January 26, 2019 4:19 pm

Along those lines, Sean, here’s what it says on a historical marker where a lot of oil was produced in Southern California:

“This monument commemorating Alamitos No. 1 is a tribute to the petroleum pioneers for their success here, a success which has, by aiding in the growth and expansion of the petroleum industry, contributed so much to the welfare of mankind.”

Flight Level
January 26, 2019 3:30 am

The CDE runs on Swiss state money.
Switzerland exhibits a growing “enough of green religion” movement, even Zurich press dares to doubt German climate leadership.
The Energy_2050 plan scares the hell out of industry, the chemistry corridor in Basel has declared a freeze of local investments.
Several companies of the mechanic sector report labor costs in the 80 $/hour.
Tenures and “scientific research” work & residence permits are at the stake.
Time for fretting and new green scaremongers as free money turns into a scarce commodity.

Roger Bournival
January 26, 2019 4:26 am

Look – it’s Yakov Smirnoff’s twin brother!

January 26, 2019 4:34 am

“Communism is the only thing that can save the Planet.” – EurekAlert!

Rich Davis
Reply to  WXcycles
January 26, 2019 5:03 am

Yes, that’s becoming abundantly clear.

We need powerful elites to set the regulatory structure. If only we had the environmental nirvana of the Soviet Union again!

Reply to  Rich Davis
January 26, 2019 6:18 am

Not to mention the luxury resorts, spas, and tourist meccas of old East Germany.

*sigh* Paradise lost.

Rich Davis
Reply to  H.R.
January 26, 2019 6:55 am

Yes, we could drive a Trabant to Chernobyl or something!

January 26, 2019 4:45 am

Nuclear power + Grow lights = local agriculture with no pests
Nuclear power + Desalination = forests in the desert
Nuclear power + nothing = no dams and no flooded forests

Bruce Cobb
January 26, 2019 5:09 am

News alert: Income inequality promotes the hearbreak of psoriasis. Film at eleven.

Tom Johnson
January 26, 2019 5:21 am

“More equal distribution of income, wealth, and land ownership is not only fairer, but also an effective means of improving environmental protection”.

Check out how well that is working for Rhodesia and South Africa. They went form being the Breadbaskets of Africa to being unable to even feed themselves. This great goal was achieved by forcibly taking the lands from successful landowners and giving it to “the people”. It’s “fairer”, all right – equal distribution of poverty, and an environmental disaster..

Reply to  Tom Johnson
January 26, 2019 6:01 am

Don’t forget Venezuela!

Why are collectivists blind to not only past failures of their espoused philosophy, but to present examples that are staring them in the face!

What are the results of Chavez attempting “equal distribution” through “rules and regulations”?

Rich Davis
Reply to  George Daddis
January 26, 2019 7:01 am

Silly George, socialism hasn’t failed, it has never been tried. Every time somebody tries it and a few million or tens of million people die, it turns out that it wasn’t really socialism after all. What we need is DEMOCRATIC socialism and a GREEN New Deal. Then it’s guaranteed to work. This time for sure!

Rich Davis
Reply to  Rich Davis
January 26, 2019 7:09 am

Oh but of course the Venezuela situation is an open and shut case of gringo sabotage. Everything would be perfect there if not for the war crimes committed by Bush and Trump. That’s not socialism causing millions to flee Venezuela. It’s victimization by Norte imperialistas.

Reply to  Rich Davis
January 26, 2019 9:12 am

Yeah, it’s our fault because we exploited them for their oil, giving them only money for it at global market rates.
I think the average socialist only has one brain cell, and it dies from loneliness.

Reply to  Rich Davis
January 26, 2019 11:45 am


Nope, they just pass it around.

Reply to  Tom Johnson
January 26, 2019 11:43 am

Tom Johnson

It’s not Rhodesia any longer, that’s a dirty word as it was a ‘Colonial’ term. Cecil Rhodes was a British colonist.

But Colonial management practices (sans the brutality) managed Rhodesia very well until the self proclaimed Marxist Mugabe decided that he wanted all that wealth and named the place Zimbabwe.

So he kicked out the white farmers and let the country rot on the vine.

Meanwhile, whilst British Colonialism has had a really hard time from the left it’s worth pointing out it’s successes apart from Rhodesia. They include the Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Bermuda, Brunei, Newfoundland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Malta, Province of East Florida, Province of Nova Scotia, Province of Quebec, Province of West Florida, Qatar, Queensland, Singapore, South Australia, amongst others.

Colonialism was predicated on hard work, courage and endeavour. I guess one could describe it as Capitalism.

Robert of Ottawa
January 26, 2019 5:27 am

A suggested headline: Poverty on South America fuels bank accounts in Bern.

January 26, 2019 5:33 am

It seems the author decided his results before conducting research.

Graziano Ceddia focuses on certain results as the cause, while ignoring the factors that cause local inequality; e.g. political corruption.


“in a hypothetical situation of equality – increases in agricultural productivity would promote deforestation in the short-term. But in a longer-term “equality scenario”, higher agricultural productivity would actually lead to better protection of forests.”

A description that identifies research based on models. More self satisfying model mania.

January 26, 2019 5:56 am

…the only thing un-equal….is their access to elec, gas, and oil

January 26, 2019 6:35 am

In free societies, unequal social outcomes are a feature, not a bug. One small example of why for you. One can look at capital accumulation as a competition between economic agents based on how effectively they use the capital they have. Over time, folks who use their capital more effectively accumulate more than their “fair share” of capital. But society as a whole benefits because of the higher overall returns that result from concentrating capital and control of capital in the hands of those who get the best returns for it.

Just try a little thought experiment. Imagine capital was distributed democratically and every person controlled and equal share of it. Would you get Elon Musk (mixed bag, but a good example of an extreme)? IBM? GM? Amazon? GE? No. And we’d be living in mud huts…

Competition for capital is a net good for all members of society. It just isn’t fair. This dingbat’s article is best seen as agitprop, not scholarship. It’s an example of the absence of serious analysis, an exercise in circumlocution, not penetrating analysis.

Reply to  ScribblerG
January 26, 2019 7:54 am

I don’t remember who said it but imagine a world in which all wealth was seized and distributed equally. Within a generation, the same people would be wealthy and the same people would be poor.

Wealth is the result not doing the things that make one poor.

Reply to  MarkW
January 26, 2019 11:48 am


Probably Churchill. 🙂

Dale S
January 26, 2019 6:36 am

It’s not “inequality” that causes slash-and-burn agriculture, it’s poverty. You do NOT fix poverty with socialism or environmental laws. You fix it with markets, the rule of law, and reliable, abundant energy [usually fossil fuels]. Developed nations have plenty of “inequality”, but the relatively-poor enjoy a high standard of living, environmental protection is strong (a luxury of a nation who can afford to preserve nature) and forests are growing not shrinking.

January 26, 2019 7:46 am

1) Inequality has nothing to do with it. Poverty does. If everyone there was equally poor, there would still be environmental damage.
2) Another case of activists knowing nothing about economics. They postulate that if farmers are able to grow more food, they will make more money, which allows them to grow more food, etc. continually ad infinitum.
As more food is grown, the price of the food that is grown will fall.

Alan Tomalty
January 26, 2019 8:00 am

Instead of the word “forests” the researcher might as well of substituted any other natural resource. What a load of Communist bullshit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The worst environmental disasters to ever happen have been caused by Communist governments. This researcher should have all funding cut off forever. He is an embarassment to the scientific community as are 97% of climate scientists.

January 26, 2019 8:10 am

Maybe the title of this piece should be
Deforestation promotes Leftist Alarmism

Rich Davis
January 26, 2019 8:45 am

When did we stop calling it the RAIN forest? Now it’s just “forest”. Is that when we decided that warming would result in drought? Wouldn’t want people thinking that tropical temperatures lead to more rain.

January 26, 2019 9:13 am

So US deforestation and the fossil fuel used to make and transport wood pellets and produce more CO2 in the UK is OK?

Reply to  markl
January 27, 2019 9:39 am

It is when you put the right spin on it:

The fact that they got a total value of £481 million in Renewable Obligation Certificates in 2017 is irrelevant of course, they are saving the planet….

January 26, 2019 9:46 am

The underlying bias in this study:

“More equal distribution of income, wealth, and land ownership is not only fairer, but also an effective means of improving environmental protection”.

I spent ten years in the Caribbean part of Latin America. Forests there were very badly impacted by burgeoning populations and the need for cooking fuel — made worse by the poaching of valuable local mahogany. Now there are checkpoints on some highways, manned by the armed forces to cut down on mahogany poaching. And the endless need for cooking fuel had been met by partially subsidized bottled gas.

The living conditions for the profoundly poor need to be addressed by bringing in development and industries that offer steady jobs, training and a weekly paycheck for both men and women. If these job can be offered by agriculture, then that’s great.

“Redistribution of wealth and land” is just the same old tired socialist dream that when tried doesn’t work. The most current example is Zimbabwe (Rhodesia).

From my experience (mostly in the Dominican Republic) what the people want is not land or wealth — they simply want good steady, dependable employment that pays a decent wage. The women there are particularly hard working and make good employees as long as they are treated right. The best employers even supply buses to local neighborhoods to transport employees to and from work; some provide basic day care for pre-school children.

If you want to help these poor countries, send job-producing industries.

James Clarke
January 26, 2019 9:50 am

‘Inequality’ is a leftist, social-justice, buzz word. The ‘solution’ to inequality is always some form of punishing those who make good, responsible life choices and rewarding those who do not. But the biggest rewards go to those who seek to have control over everyones choices. Equality is achieved by lowering all boats (except their own). Environment degradation increases in these scenarios.

Raising all boats through a solid foundation of capitalism and the rule of law has been shown to be the best way to reverse environmental degradation. Unfortunately, that solution is never mentioned or on the table.

There is no requirement for egg-head, academic studies filled with false arguments for the desperate need of more control over peoples lives. The history of the last 100 years is filled with real life examples of what happens when ‘equality’ is forced upon a population by making everyone poor (through socialism). The population suffers. The environment suffers. Even the regulators suffer, but that takes a little longer.

Reg Nelson
Reply to  James Clarke
January 26, 2019 12:28 pm

‘Fairness’ is another leftist, social-justice, buzz word. The housing crisis, which led to the greatest recession since the Great Depression, was done in the name of fairness.

tsk tsk
January 26, 2019 8:34 pm

Today, Latin America features some of the highest levels of inequality in the world.

So not much different than California or New York then. It’s funny that the most extreme inequality always comes from the governments most dedicated to “solving” it. Why, if one were cynical, one might think it was even intentional–an effort to re-introduce a European feudal system with a nearly omnipotent central faith.

January 27, 2019 2:38 am

It’s not inequality, it’s poverty. And there’s poverty because left-wing activists have been pushing socialist ideas on the developing world for decades. People with decent jobs in a developed economy don’t go around cutting down trees.

These people keep others poor because they insist they are right, then blame everybody but themselves for the effects of that poverty.

January 27, 2019 9:46 am

Forests, now you see them now you don’t.

Professor Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of BioGeography at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, wrote this in 2003:

“At the end of the last ice age, only some 12-18000 years ago, the tropics were covered by seasonal savannah grasslands, cooler and much drier than now. There were no rain forests in the Malay Peninsula and much of Amazonia, and, despite the increasing human development of forested space, there are still more rain forests persisting than existed then. As in Europe and North America, the forests came and went as climate changed; there is no Clementsian “long period of control” under one climate. Beneath many rain forests, there are sheets of ash, a testimony in the soil to past fires and non-forested landscapes.”

“Brazil: Ancient Amazon Actually Highly Urbanized” August 31st 2008
“The report ….in the journal Science, describes clusters of towns and smaller villages that were connected by complex road networks and were arranged around large central plazas. Researches also discovered signs of farming, wetland management and fish farms in the ancient settlements that are now almost completely covered by rainforest.”

“Stone age etchings found in Amazon basin as river levels fall”: 10 November 2010 Guardian
“Archaeologists who have studied the photographs believe the art – which features images of faces and snakes – is another indication that thousands of years ago the Amazon was already home to large civilisations.

“Eduardo Neves, president of the Brazilian Society of Archaeology and a leading Amazon scholar, said the etchings appeared to have been made between 3,000 and 7,000 years ago when water levels in the region were lower. The etchings were “further, undeniable evidence” that the region had been occupied by a significant number of ancient settlements and people.””

SOUTH AMERICA DURING THE LAST 150,000 YEARS – Jonathan Adams, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
“In general, it would seem that 150-130,000 y.a. the continent showed the general glacial-age pattern of colder and more arid conditions. After about 130,000 y.a., climate warmed and moistened and the forests reached a similar area to the present. After 115,000 y.a., cold and aridity began to influence the vegetation, to an arid, cool maximum around 70,000 y.a., followed by erratic but generally fairly cool and drier-than-present conditions throughout the continent. A second cold, arid maximum began around 22,000 years ago and lasted until about 14,000 14C y.a., after which rainfall and temperatures increased and the forests returned over several thousand years.”

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