Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Norwegian University of Life Sciences, School of Economics and Business

No 02-2017: Can conservation agriculture save tropical forests? The case of minimum tillage in Zambia

Hambulo Ngoma () and Arild Angelsen ()
Additional contact information
Hambulo Ngoma: School of Economics and Business, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Postal: Norwegian University of Life Sciences, School of Economics and Business, P.O. Box 5003 NMBU, N-1432 Ås, Norway
Arild Angelsen: School of Economics and Business, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Postal: Norwegian University of Life Sciences, School of Economics and Business, P.O. Box 5003 NMBU, N-1432 Ås, Norway

Abstract: Minimum tillage (MT) is a key component in the promotion of conservation agriculture (CA). This paper asks whether MT reduces cropland expansion and thus deforestation. We develop a simple theoretical household model of land expansion, and test hypotheses by estimating a double hurdle model using household survey data from 368 smallholders in rural Zambia. We find that about 19% of the farmers expanded cropland into forests, clearing an average of 0.14 ha over one year. Overall, MT adoption does not significantly reduce deforestation among households in our sample, while labor availability stimulate expansion. Yield augmenting agricultural technologies (such as MT) may not reduce expansion unless combined with other forest conservation measures.

Keywords: Cropland expansion; deforestation; minimum tillage; double hurdle; Zambia

JEL-codes: D13; Q12; Q23

39 pages, April 26, 2017

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