Assigning Responsibility for a Rainforest

Ohio State researchers Brent Sohngen, Douglas Southgate and Lea Fortmann, in the field in Guatemala (photo courtesy of Brent Sohngen)

A recent study co-authored by Brent Sohngen, a professor of agricultural, environmental and developmental economics at OSU, showed that deforestation is slowed when property rights are assigned to residents.  

Douglas Southgate, study co-author and emeritus professor of agricultural, environmental and development economics at Ohio State, stated, “There are millions upon millions of hectares of tropical forests – far more than will ever be set aside as parks and reserves and nearly all of that land is inhabited. This study suggests that empowering local communities is the best way to conserve resources in many places."

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