Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Can bribes save the rainforest?

Rainforests are some of the only pieces of lush wilderness left on the planet. Just about every bit of land that isn’t frozen or desert has been turned into farmland. Unfortunately, deforestation is a big problem. A popular solution has been to offer locals payments for NOT cutting down trees. But does this system actually work? A group of scientists set out to find the answer.
Can bribes save the rainforests?
The scientists knew that these bribes could go wrong. According to classical economic theory, people are selfish; they do whatever helps them the most. That means that the villagers could easily just take payments and keep harvesting trees.

Lots of research suggests that adding money to a situation can backfire. The villagers, who may have previously valued the forest for itself, might now start to look at it just as a source of income. After the bribes, they might cut down even more trees as a result.

Read the Ilana Strauss story from Treehugger - “Can bribes save the rainforest?

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