The environmental impact of civil conflict : the deforestation effect of paramilitary expansion in Colombia

Despite a growing body of literature on how environmental degradation can fuel civil war, the reverse effect, namely that of conflict on environmental outcomes, is relatively understudied. From a theoretical point of view this effect is ambiguous, with some forces pointing to pressures for environme...

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Autores Principales: Fergusson Talero, Leopoldo, Mendoza Romero, Dario, Vargas, Juan F.
Formato: Documento de trabajo (Working Paper)
Lenguaje:Español (Spanish)
Publicado: Universidad del Rosario 2014
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Acceso en línea:http://repository.urosario.edu.co/handle/10336/10988
id ir-10336-10988
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spelling ir-10336-109882019-09-19T12:37:01Z The environmental impact of civil conflict : the deforestation effect of paramilitary expansion in Colombia Fergusson Talero, Leopoldo Mendoza Romero, Dario Vargas, Juan F. Economía de la tierra Conflicto armado::Aspectos Ambientales Deterioro ambiental::Colombia Deforestación::Colombia Deforestation Conflict Instrumental variables Colombia Despite a growing body of literature on how environmental degradation can fuel civil war, the reverse effect, namely that of conflict on environmental outcomes, is relatively understudied. From a theoretical point of view this effect is ambiguous, with some forces pointing to pressures for environmental degradation and some pointing in the opposite direction. Hence, the overall effect of conflict on the environment is an empirical question. We study this relationship in the case of Colombia. We combine a detailed satellite-based longitudinal dataset on forest cover across municipalities over the period 1990-2010 with a comprehensive panel of conflict-related violent actions by paramilitary militias. We first provide evidence that paramilitary activity significantly reduces the share of forest cover in a panel specification that includes municipal and time fixed effects. Then we confirm these findings by taking advantage of a quasi-experiment that provides us with an exogenous source of variation for the expansion of the paramilitary. Using the distance to the region of Urab´a, the epicenter of such expansion, we instrument paramilitary activity in each cross-section for which data on forest cover is available. As a falsification exercise, we show that the instrument ceases to be relevant after the paramilitaries largely demobilized following peace negotiations with the government. Further, after the demobilization the deforestation effect of the paramilitaries disappears. We explore a number of potential mechanisms that may explain the conflict-driven deforestation, and show evidence suggesting that paramilitary violence generates large outflows of people in order to secure areas for growing illegal crops, exploit mineral resources, and engage in extensive agriculture. In turn, these activities are associated with deforestation. 2014-09 2015-10-07T20:15:41Z info:eu-repo/semantics/workingPaper info:eu-repo/semantics/acceptedVersion http://repository.urosario.edu.co/handle/10336/10988 Universidad del Rosario, Facultad de Economía spa info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess application/pdf Universidad del Rosario Facultad de Economía instname:Universidad del Rosario reponame:Repositorio Institucional EdocUR instname:Universidad del Rosario
institution EdocUR - Universidad del Rosario
collection DSpace
language Español (Spanish)
topic Economía de la tierra
Conflicto armado::Aspectos Ambientales
Deterioro ambiental::Colombia
Deforestación::Colombia
Deforestation
Conflict
Instrumental variables
Colombia
spellingShingle Economía de la tierra
Conflicto armado::Aspectos Ambientales
Deterioro ambiental::Colombia
Deforestación::Colombia
Deforestation
Conflict
Instrumental variables
Colombia
Fergusson Talero, Leopoldo
Mendoza Romero, Dario
Vargas, Juan F.
The environmental impact of civil conflict : the deforestation effect of paramilitary expansion in Colombia
description Despite a growing body of literature on how environmental degradation can fuel civil war, the reverse effect, namely that of conflict on environmental outcomes, is relatively understudied. From a theoretical point of view this effect is ambiguous, with some forces pointing to pressures for environmental degradation and some pointing in the opposite direction. Hence, the overall effect of conflict on the environment is an empirical question. We study this relationship in the case of Colombia. We combine a detailed satellite-based longitudinal dataset on forest cover across municipalities over the period 1990-2010 with a comprehensive panel of conflict-related violent actions by paramilitary militias. We first provide evidence that paramilitary activity significantly reduces the share of forest cover in a panel specification that includes municipal and time fixed effects. Then we confirm these findings by taking advantage of a quasi-experiment that provides us with an exogenous source of variation for the expansion of the paramilitary. Using the distance to the region of Urab´a, the epicenter of such expansion, we instrument paramilitary activity in each cross-section for which data on forest cover is available. As a falsification exercise, we show that the instrument ceases to be relevant after the paramilitaries largely demobilized following peace negotiations with the government. Further, after the demobilization the deforestation effect of the paramilitaries disappears. We explore a number of potential mechanisms that may explain the conflict-driven deforestation, and show evidence suggesting that paramilitary violence generates large outflows of people in order to secure areas for growing illegal crops, exploit mineral resources, and engage in extensive agriculture. In turn, these activities are associated with deforestation.
format Documento de trabajo (Working Paper)
author Fergusson Talero, Leopoldo
Mendoza Romero, Dario
Vargas, Juan F.
author_facet Fergusson Talero, Leopoldo
Mendoza Romero, Dario
Vargas, Juan F.
author_sort Fergusson Talero, Leopoldo
title The environmental impact of civil conflict : the deforestation effect of paramilitary expansion in Colombia
title_short The environmental impact of civil conflict : the deforestation effect of paramilitary expansion in Colombia
title_full The environmental impact of civil conflict : the deforestation effect of paramilitary expansion in Colombia
title_fullStr The environmental impact of civil conflict : the deforestation effect of paramilitary expansion in Colombia
title_full_unstemmed The environmental impact of civil conflict : the deforestation effect of paramilitary expansion in Colombia
title_sort environmental impact of civil conflict : the deforestation effect of paramilitary expansion in colombia
publisher Universidad del Rosario
publishDate 2014
url http://repository.urosario.edu.co/handle/10336/10988
_version_ 1645141718712975360
score 11,365454