Eric Lambin: Land Use Change in the Globalization Era: Challenges and Opportunities

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A central challenge for sustainability is how to preserve forest ecosystems and their rich biodiversity while enhancing food production. This challenge for developing countries confronts the force of economic globalization, which seeks cropland and triggers deforestation. Land use changes are increasingly associated with commodities produced for global markets. Some of the final consumers of agricultural and wood commodities, the corporations involved in their transformation and retailing, and civil society show a growing concern for sustainability. These actors are starting to express a preference for goods whose supply chain has been certified as meeting sustainability criteria. These private actors have designed new non-state market driven governance mechanisms aimed at influencing land use through global markets. Recent evidence on the effectiveness of these private land use regulations suggests some potentially positive direct and indirect beneficial impacts. Interactions between private and public environmental regulations need to be better understood.

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