Giving Money to the Very Poor Benefits the Environment As Well

The path to saving endangered rainfall can be surprisingly easy – pay people in the neighborhood. The idea of ​​paying for ecosystems where people live is widespread, but a new study has reported substantial environmental benefits even though the funds are not linked.  Pre-epidemic Indonesia achieved 18 years of strong economic growth. However, this new resource has spread unevenly, leaving more remote islands. To address this, Indonesia has established the Keluarga Harapan Program, which pays for poor families, many in rural areas.

Keluarga Harapan was not designed to deal with the devastation caused by the monsoon floods in Indonesia, but Professor Paul Ferraro of Johns Hopkins University and Dr. Rita Simorangkir of the National University of Singapore decided whether it had any consequences.  After all, the highest concentrations of poverty are in areas with the highest conservation standards and the fastest deforestation. Helpful for sociologists, Keluarga Harapan came in phases so some villages received financial assistance before others. This makes it even more possible that the program actually created an effect that matched the arrival of time, rather than just the connection of time.

This pair is in the forest area, 468. More than a quarter of the one million households in T village collected data and compared it to the nearest forest upstream. They have reduced payments by 30 percent to deforestation and have already done more in more affected areas. Moreover, the longer a village benefited from this program and the higher the proportion of villagers who received grants, the lower the deforestation.

Ferraro said in a statement, whose research is published in Science Advances, “Two of the great global challenges of the twenty-first century are poverty reduction and deforestation. Unfortunately, solutions to these challenges are often seen as antithetical to each other – progress on one front means retreat on the other.”Our study is the first of its kind to suggest that cash transfers for the poor could have a positive impact on forest conservation.”

Moreover, the observations of Ferraro and Simorangkir are so modest that the program presents expensive greenhouse mitigation, even without considering the benefits of biodiversity and poverty reduction.

There are plenty of examples of projects in development aid that work remarkably well in a cultural environment but are proven to be ineffective or actually harmful when applied more widely. In fact, a study found that a similar program in Mexico has led to more forestry, not less. As a result, it cannot be assumed that the environmental benefits from Keluarga Harapan can be seen everywhere as the forest is under threat.

However, while most studies of the relationship between poverty-fighting and environmental outcomes are designed to identify such effects, the paper is optimistic that we may be able to achieve double or triple the effort to build a more developed world.