Deforestation in Indonesia piles of logs in a cleared area of a forest with smoke in background
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January 14, 2021

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Ferraro Study Recognized as Scientific Breakthrough

Why it matters:

A paper by the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor was cited as a 2020 research highlight by "The Guardian."

Article Highlights

  • Ferraro study found that an anti-poverty program in Indonesia led to a drop in deforestation.
  • It was listed among 10 major 2020 papers not related to pandemic.

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A study by Bloomberg Distinguished Professor Paul Ferraro of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School was highlighted in The Guardian as one of 10 non-pandemic-related scientific breakthroughs of 2020.

The British newspaper with an international readership cited the study “Conditional cash transfers to alleviate poverty also reduced deforestation in Indonesia,” published last June in Science Advances. Ferraro was lead author, joined by Rhita Simorangkir, a research fellow in the economics department at the National University of Singapore.

30% decline in deforestation
The study showed that after a poverty-fighting cash transfer program was introduced in more than 7,000 rural forested villages in Indonesia, local deforestation declined by 30 percent.

 

In their study, Ferraro and Simorangkir showed that after a poverty-fighting cash transfer program was introduced in more than 7,000 rural forested villages in Indonesia, local deforestation declined by 30 percent. 

The Guardian’s 10 breakthroughs were selected individually by scientists from around the world. In describing the Ferraro paper, Professor Julia P.G. Jones of Bangor University wrote that the 30 percent drop in deforestation “would be an impressive result had the scheme been aimed at avoiding deforestation,” notwithstanding the program’s goal of reducing poverty.

“This study provides hope that, at least in some circumstances, alleviating poverty can contribute to slowing deforestation – vital if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change and reduce biodiversity loss.”

Julia P.G. Jones, Professor Bangor University

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“Tackling global poverty and slowing tropical deforestation are two of the biggest challenges we face. While not a panacea, this study provides hope that, at least in some circumstances, alleviating poverty can contribute to slowing deforestation – vital if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change and reduce biodiversity loss,” Jones added. 

Ferraro joined the Carey Business School as a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in 2015. He also has an appointment in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, a joint department of Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health and Whiting School of Engineering. His research focuses on building a credible evidence base about the environmental and social impacts of public and private programs.

Bloomberg Distinguished Professor

Paul J. Ferraro, PhD

Paul J. Ferraro is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Human Behavior and Public Policy at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Ferraro has a joint faculty appointment in the Carey Business School and the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, a joint department of the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Whiting School of Engineering. Ferraro’s research focuses on building a credible evidence base about the environmental and social impacts of public and private programs.

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