Deterring deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon: environmental monitoring and law enforcement

Produced by: 
LACEA annual meeting
Available from: 
October 2013
Paper author(s): 
Clarissa Gandour (PUC-Rio)
Juliano Assunção (PUC-Rio)
Romero Rocha (PUC-Rio)
Environmental Economics


This paper evaluates the impact of monitoring and law enforcement on deforestation. It focuses on DETER, a satellite-based system for real-time detection of deforestation, which is the key tool for targeting law enforcement activities in the Brazilian Amazon. DETER cloud coverage, which limits satellite visibility, is shown to be correlated with environmental fines. Cloud coverage is then used as a source of exogenous variation in the number of fines for the estimation of the effect of monitoring and law enforcement on deforestation. Deforestation observed from 2007 through 2011 was 75% smaller than it would have been in the absence of fines. More stringent monitoring had no impact on municipal agricultural production.



Research section: 
Lacea 2013 annual meeting
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