The role of demography and markets in determining deforestation rates near Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar.
Brooks, Christopher P.
Keitt, Timothy H.
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The highland forests of Madagascar are home to some of the world's most unique and diverse flora and fauna and to some of its poorest people. This juxtaposition of poverty and biodiversity is continually reinforced by rapid population growth, which results in increasing pressure on the remaining forest habitat in the highland region, and the biodiversity therein. Here we derive a mathematical expression for the subsistence of households to assess the role of markets and household demography on deforestation near Ranomafana National Park. In villages closest to urban rice markets, households were likely to clear less land than our model predicted, presumably because they were purchasing food at market. This effect was offset by the large number of migrant households who cleared significantly more land between 1989-2003 than did residents throughout the region. Deforestation by migrant households typically occurred after a mean time lag of 9 years. Analyses suggest that while local conservation efforts in Madagascar have been successful at reducing the footprint of individual households, large-scale conservation must rely on policies that can reduce the establishment of new households in remaining forested areas.