Public Open Access and Private Timber Harvests: Theory and Application to the Effects of Trade Liberalization in Mexico
A common popular assertion is that trade liberalization encourages deforestation. But whether this is true depends on how trade policies affect the allocation of land among competing uses and how they influence illegal cutting of public forests. A model is presented that allows for forests to be either public or private, and public forests are divided into protected (or managed) and threatened categories. Effects of price changes are shown on each part of the forest. An empirical version of the model is applied to the case of Mexico with NAFTA. Most scenarios considered show that NAFTA will have positive long-run effects on forest cover in Mexico but that this is net of losses on private lands.