Tropical forests are critical for human wellbeing through their contributions to climate stability, biodiversity conservation, food production, and rural livelihoods. Despite numerous global commitments to help conserve and restore tropical forests, these areas are disappearing faster than ever. The goal of this research is to provide major advancements in our understanding of the conditions under which forest-focused supply chain policies (FSPs), a form of voluntary environmental governance, can lead to improved conservation and livelihoods in the tropics. My proposal overcomes major methodological limitations of past work through four major innovations: i) a coordinated pan-tropical analysis of multiple forest-risk commodities, ii) simultaneous examination of conservation and livelihood outcomes, iii) a focus on mechanisms of impact, not just measures of impact, and iv) comparative study with triangulation across multiple scales and methods. I will examine the importance of four key contextual factors in determining FSP effectiveness: i) the degree of public sector involvement in the governance of land use behaviors in the target regions; ii) historical land use trends in the target regions; iii) supply chain arrangements for the targeted commodities; and iv) values of the targeted populations. Additionally, I examine how the type of implementation mechanism used (i.e., whether the firm immediately suspends non-compliant producers) interacts with these contextual factors in determining the effectiveness and equity of FSPs. By identifying the conditions under which different types of FSPs and related implementation mechanisms can deliver improved conservation and livelihood outcomes, the resulting analysis will provide urgently needed policy recommendations to companies and other policy makers for how to better tailor the design of FSPs to specific contexts.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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