Assessing the role of institutional effectiveness on carbon sequestration: the case of China's Nature Reserve Policy


Carbon storage in protected land is a practical climate stabilisation strategy. It is increasingly being recognised as an essential means of safeguarding biomass carbon and improving local ecological conditions. Yet, increasing carbon sequestration by setting aside nature reserves does not depend only on the scale of the reserve, but more so, on the implementation and enforcement of the reserve protection policy. This paper shows how nature reserves established and managed by different administrative levels affect carbon sequestration. Empirically, we estimate a time-varying difference-in-difference model that exploits China’s distinct four-layered hierarchical nature reserve management system at the county-level. Our findings show that higher administrative level (i.e., national and provincial) nature reserves have no effects on the car- bon dynamic. However, reserves managed by lower administrative levels (i.e., prefecture- and county-level) are associated with reduced carbon sequestration. The results imply local governments fail to fulfil their responsibilities for nature reserves protection, leading to increased extractive activities and declined ecological biomass

In China Agricultural Economic Review
Dela-Dem Doe Fiankor
Dela-Dem Doe Fiankor
Research Associate