The impact of protected areas on the occurrence of water-related disasters in Guatemala

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Globally, disasters caused by extreme climatic events such as floods, landslides and storms have produced considerable losses in terms of human lives and livelihoods. Developing countries have been the most affected since they have high exposure to these climatic events. These events do not affect everybody equally. Women (Neumayer and Plumper 2007) and the poor (Kim 2012) are more exposed to and affected by these events. Additionally, within a climatic change context, a significant increase in extreme weather events is expected. Therefore, it is essential to promote policies focused on reducing the incidence of water-related disasters and mitigate their impacts. Forests can be an effective tool to reduce the occurrence of hydrological disasters and protected areas (PAs) are the most used forests conservation policy. However, very scarce empirical evidence exists about the causal effect of PAs on hydrological disasters reduction. We will evaluate the impact of PAs on the occurrence of water-related disasters in Guatemala. We will test if the effects of PAs vary according to different biophysical and socioeconomic characteristics with a panel data and highly disaggregated information. The results will guide the selection of new places to establish PAs for disaster mitigation that will help women and the poor. 

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Financed by
Environment for Development initiative
Project | 11 December 2023