Events & Media

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara



"Maintaining Mexican Monarchs: Policy Evaluation in a Spatial Context"

Kathy Baylis
Assistant Professor, Agriculture and Consumer Economics
University of Illinois

Monday, February 11, 2013
11:30 - 12:30
Bren 1424

"Kathy Baylis is one of the foremost experts on the interaction between agriculture, international trade, and the environment. She was the staff economist in charge of agriculture for the Council of Economic Advisors in the White House."

— Gary Libecap, faculty host

With the potential expansion of forest conservation programs spurred by climate change agreements, there is a need to accurately measure the extent to which such programs achieve their intended results. Conventional methods for evaluating conservation impact tend to be biased because they do not compare like areas or account for spatial relations. We assessed the effect of a conservation initiative that combines designation of protected areas with payments for environmental services to conserve over wintering habitat for the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) in Mexico. We measured avoided forest loss (avoided disturbance and deforestation) by comparing forest cover on protected and unprotected lands that were similar in terms of accessibility, governance, and forest type. Whereas conventional estimates of avoided forest loss suggest that conservation initiatives did not protect forest cover, we found evidence that the conservation measures actually are preserving forest cover. We suggest that future estimates of avoided forest loss be analyzed spatially to account for how forest loss occurs across the landscape.  Given the forthcoming demand from donors and carbon financiers for estimates of avoided forest loss, we anticipate our methods and results will contribute to future studies that estimate the outcome of conservation efforts.

Kathy Baylis is an assistant professor in the department of Agriculture and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois. She joined the department after several years as an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, where she remains an adjunct professor. She earned her PhD from UC Berkeley in 2003, specializing in agriculture and trade issues. Kathy has worked in agricultural policy in both Canada and the United States. In 2001 and 2002, she was the staff economist in charge of agriculture for the Council of Economic Advisors in the White House, and in the mid-1990s, she worked as Executive Secretary with the National Farmers Union in Canada. She has published a number of journal articles on agricultural trade and environmental policy and has co-authored a textbook on Canadian-U.S. agricultural policy.

NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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