Oxymoron of the day

Despite years of designing and implementing incentive-based strategies for preventing deforestation in the tropics, the factors that hinder and/or promote effectiveness of incentives in changing people’s behaviours for sustainable forest management are yet to be systematically understood.

That is from a research proposal recently sent to me. It was shared in confidence so the authors will have to remain anonymous. That shall spare their blushes. For much tropical deforestation is driven primarily by local issues and economics so even were the instigators’ behaviour to be systematically understood, such an ‘understanding’ would be of little practical relevance to any given situation. The authors appear to grasp this since they were proposing to conduct their research in just one part of one country. One can hope the findings from their work may usefully inform local efforts to reduce deforestation in that area.

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