Evidence gap map: Forestry


This evidence gap map expanded upon a previous study conducted by the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation related to forest conservation interventions in low- and middle-income countries. This review updated evidence for the period 2016 to mid-2018 and synthesized this with the coverage of the previous evidence review (1990-2015).

The evidence gap map answered the following question:

What evidence is there to inform environmental and socioeconomic outcomes of different forest conservation interventions in low- or middle-income countries?

Findings: Evidence in Africa was underrepresented, despite the large area covered by tropical forests in Central African countries. India and Nepal showed high representation. Protected areas and community-based forest management were evaluated the most. Evidence on interventions that base conservation on conditional incentives (such as Payments for Environmental Services) was very thin, despite high visibility in conservation debates. 

Recommendations: Very few studies dealt with both environmental and social outcomes. Additionally, even fewer considered potential trade-offs. Going forward, studies should focus much more on biodiversity, GHG emissions, and cost-effectiveness. The impacts of forest conservation interventions should be better assessed at a landscape level, which requires a more in-depth study on leakage effects. Furthermore, better coordination is required between donors and researchers to reduce research gaps shown herein.