Protected areas, indigenous communities, deforestation and the role of institutions evidence fo...


Protected areas and indigenous communities play a crucial role in controlling deforestation, which is responsible for carbon emissions related to land use and land use change, contributing to global warming and climate change. However, the effectiveness of protected areas is conditioned by their administration and the quality of the institutions in their countries. In this paper, I will analyze the effectiveness of protected areas (Both at the national and sub-national levels) and indigenous territories and the institutions' role in the case of Bolivia's lowlands. I computed deforestation rates for four different periods between 1986 and 2021 to test the impact of institutions on different types of protected areas by using satellite images at 30m resolution and combining them with official data on protected areas and indigenous communities, which includes specific locations and dates of creation. Using a spatial regression discontinuity design, the results show that protected areas at the national level are the most effective in controlling deforestation, particularly after the creation of institutions taking care of them. Departmental protected areas have some impact on preventing deforestation, while municipal ones have no influence. For indigenous communities, there was a significant effect on reducing deforestation with the first reservations created, but the effect wears off over time. Regarding mechanism, being close to cities and routes is a threat for indigenous communities and departmental PAs, while it is an advantage for national PAs. Finally, protected areas and indigenous communities show, in general, greater levels of deforestation when they are exposed to cattle ranching settlements, mines, and oil wells.