Public Events

19 Nov 2014

Spatial trade-offs between ecosystem services, economic value, and agricultural production in tropical forests


This talk was recorded on Wed 19 Nov 2014 at The University of Nottingham Kuala Lumpur Teaching Centre, Level 2, Chulan Tower, No 3 Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur.


Dr. Roman Carrasco

Roman Carrasco obtained his PhD from Imperial College London on bioeconomic modeling for biosecurity. After a postdoc at the National University of Singapore working on epidemic-economic modeling, he is now an Assistant Professor at the Department of Biological Sciences. His research interests are interdisciplinary and reside within the divide of ecology and economics. He develops bioeconomic models to answer resource allocation questions with a spatially explicit component. The center of his research these days is how to reconcile agricultural production and biodiversity conservation in the tropics.

Seminar Summary

The reconciliation of ecosystem service provision and agricultural production in tropical landscapes requires recognition of the trade-offs between competing land-uses. The comparison of agricultural benefits with forgone ecosystem services has however been limited to specific case studies. Using satellite data of tropical deforestation, I demonstrate that the loss of economic value of ecosystem service is greater than the direct economic benefits derived from the agricultural land uses replacing those forests. Marked differences occur regionally, with a large proportion of deforested areas of Southeast Asia presenting net agricultural gains and the majority of areas in the Amazon presenting net losses. These results hold when considering the transaction and implementation costs of payment for ecosystem services programs. I also find that REDD+ payments based on CO2 emission reductions would not be able to stop deforestation in Southeast Asia and that the value of all ecosystem services would need to be considered for these payments to be effective.