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Study Links Indonesian Deforestation To Election Cycles - Logging Concessions Common Paybacks

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:33 PM
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Study Links Indonesian Deforestation To Election Cycles - Logging Concessions Common Paybacks
Increased fragmentation of political jurisdictions and the election cycle contribute to Indonesia's high deforestation rate according to analysis published by researchers at the London School of Economics (LSE), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and South Dakota State University (SDSU).

The research confirms the observation that Indonesian politicians in forest-rich districts seem repay their election debts by granting forest concessions.

Comparing changes in forest cover in different 'forest zones' with the proliferation of new administrative regions across Indonesia a product of decentralization, which grants greater regional autonomy authors led by Robin Burgess of LSE found that subdividing a province by adding a district increases the incidence of deforestation within that province by 7.8 percent. The number of districts across Indonesia leapt from 291 to 498 between 1998 and 2009.

The increase in political units is important because it means there are more elections. The researchers found that illegal logging forest felling in 'conservation' and 'protection' zones where no logging is allowed increases during the run-up to local elections, but falls sharply in the year after the election, replaced by a steep increase in logging in 'conversion' zones. The shift from illegal to legal logging may be a consequence of politicians' paying back favors in the form of logging concessions to interests that sponsor their campaigns.

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