Measuring transnational leakage of forest conservation Academic Article uri icon


  • Forest conservation in one country can influence the degree of conservation or deforestation in other countries because of international linkages of the forest products industry and markets and a lack of global coordination. Thus leakage and offsetting losses of environmental quality may be present. This paper develops an analytical framework for measuring this leakage and estimates its magnitude via general equilibrium modeling. We find that the magnitude of leakage depends upon the price elasticities of supply of and demand for forestry products across the countries and degree of cooperation in forest conservation. We estimate that a significant portion (42%-95%) of the reduced forestry production implemented in a country/region can be transferred to elsewhere, offsetting environmental gains. Leakage generally diminishes as more countries cooperate, but cooperation among only a few countries does not always dramatically reduce leakage. Thus forest conservation efforts and associated environmental quantity gains in a country or group of countries can be seriously undermined in terms of global net conservation gain in the absence of effective global cooperation. Our results also point to the importance of taking leakage into account in evaluating local or regional forest carbon sequestration projects. 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Ecological Economics

altmetric score

  • 53

author list (cited authors)

  • Gan, J., & McCarl, B. A.

citation count

  • 97

complete list of authors

  • Gan, Jianbang||McCarl, Bruce A

publication date

  • December 2007