Impact of small farmers' access to improved seeds and deforestation in DR Congo - PSE - Paris School of Economics Access content directly
Journal Articles Nature Communications Year : 2023

Impact of small farmers' access to improved seeds and deforestation in DR Congo

Sylvie Lambert
Karen Macours
Margaux Vinez
  • Function : Author

Abstract

Since the 1960s, the increased availability of modern seed varieties in developing countries has had large positive effects on households’ well-being. However, the effect of related land use changes on deforestation and biodiversity is ambiguous. This study examines this question through a randomized control trial in a remote area in the Congo Basin rainforest with weak input and output markets. Using plot-level data on land conversion combined with remote sensing data, we find that promotion of modern seed varieties did not lead to an increase in overall deforestation by small farmers. However, farmers cleared more primary forest and less secondary forest. We attribute this to the increased demand for nitrogen required by the use of some modern seed varieties, and to the lack of alternative sources of soil nutrients, which induced farmers to shift towards cultivation of land cleared in primary forest. Unless combined with interventions to maintain soil fertility, policies to promote modern seed varieties may come at the cost of important losses in biodiversity.
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hal-04049025 , version 1 (28-03-2023)

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Tanguy Bernard, Sylvie Lambert, Karen Macours, Margaux Vinez. Impact of small farmers' access to improved seeds and deforestation in DR Congo. Nature Communications, 2023, 14, pp.1603. ⟨10.1038/s41467-023-37278-2⟩. ⟨hal-04049025⟩
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