Arun Agrawal

Arun Agrawal
University of Michigan | U-M · School of Natural Resources and Environment

PhD

About

240
Publications
195,466
Reads
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27,935
Citations
Introduction
I study the politics of natural resource governance, with a particular focus on forests, grazing lands, and climate adaptation. Much of my work concerns how institutions shape choices, and how political choices produce institutions. in addition to my research and teaching at the University of Michigan, I also serve as the coordinator of the International Forestry Resources and Institutions Network, and as the Editor-in-Chief of the journal World Development.
Additional affiliations
July 2003 - present
University of Michigan
Position
  • Professor (Full)
July 1996 - June 2003
Yale University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
January 1993 - June 1996
University of Florida
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Education
August 1986 - May 1992
Duke University
Field of study
  • Political Science

Publications

Publications (240)
Article
Full-text available
Improving agricultural productivity is a foundational sustainability challenge in the 21st century. Large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) have important effects on both well-being and the environment in the Global South. Their impacts on agricultural productivity and subsequent effects on farm incomes, food-security and the distribution of these ou...
Article
Scholarship on environmental governance has provided invaluable contributions that usefully broadened the field of environmental policy from its narrow focus on central governments and state agencies. The inclusion of new agents and their interests, mechanisms of governance, and motivational foundations strengthened analyses of environmental challe...
Preprint
To control the COVID-19 pandemic, governments worldwide deployed unprecedented policies. Mandatory lockdowns, mobility restrictions, and calls for social distancing and voluntary individual constraints were among the key interventions to reduce exposure risks. The resulting global reductions in human mobility constitute a massive natural experiment...
Article
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Human and social capital help households cope with disastrous shocks. We analyse panel survey data from before and after the 2015 Nepal earthquakes to disentangle the association between post-earthquake income recovery of households and their social and human capital before the earthquake. Our analysis uses multidimensional measures of human and so...
Article
Large-scale land transactions (LSLTs) can precipitate dramatic changes in land systems. Ethiopia has experienced one of the largest amounts of LSLTs in Africa, yet their effects on local land systems are poorly understood. In this study, we quantify the direct and indirect land use and land cover (LULC) changes associated with LSLTs at eight socio-...
Book
Full-text available
This compilation of articles and policy briefs constitutes part of the Responsive Natural Resources Governance Research Group’s international collaboration at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies of the University of Eastern Finland. The articles have been published in Responsibilization in Natural Resources Governance, a special iss...
Article
An extensive set of policies, programmes, technologies and strategies have been implemented in the forest sector. Collectively, these 'levers' cover a diverse range of approaches, at a variety of scales and are governed by many different stakeholders. It is important for decision-makers to understand which levers might be most useful in achieving p...
Article
Clean energy promises a wide range of individual and collective benefits. Though there is substantial research on the benefits of clean energy for specific populations, systematic assessments on household level outcomes resulting from clean energy adoption remain limited, especially for Lower and Middle Income Countries (L&MICs). Limited systematic...
Article
Full-text available
Global drivers and carbon emissions associated with large-scale land transactions have been poorly investigated. Here we examine major factors behind such transactions (income, agricultural productivity, availability of arable land and water scarcity) and estimate potential carbon emissions under different levels of deforestation. We find that clea...
Article
Forests have re-taken centre stage in global conversations about sustainability, climate and biodiversity. Here, we use a horizon scanning approach to identify five large-scale trends that are likely to have substantial medium- and long-term effects on forests and forest livelihoods: forest megadisturbances; changing rural demographics; the rise of...
Article
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Urgent sustainability challenges require effective leadership for inter- and trans-disciplinary (ITD) institutions. Based on the diverse experiences of 20 ITD institutional leaders and specific case studies, this article distills key lessons learned from multiple pathways to building successful programs. The lessons reflect both the successes and f...
Article
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ContextThe global drylands cover 41% of the terrestrial surface and support millions of pastoralists and host diverse flora and fauna. Ongoing socioeconomic and environmental transformations in drylands make it imperative to understand how to achieve the twin goals of food security and ecosystem health.Objectives The review focuses on examining the...
Article
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Forest restoration occupies centre stage in global conversations about carbon removal and biodiversity conservation, but recent research rarely acknowledges social dimensions or environmental justice implications related to its implementation. We find that 294.5 million people live on tropical forest restoration opportunity land in the Global South...
Article
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The diversity of governance instruments for natural resources provides a rich analytical field for scholars of public action and policy. Existing research contributions on natural resources governance suggest that governance interventions, coupled with the diversity of contexts in which they occur, are associated with many different social and ecol...
Article
Government programs in the United States offer benefits and opportunities to help private landowners manage their forests; however, participation is very low. Currently, little is known about the barriers landowners may face in accessing information about these programs. Using a landowner survey across four counties in Michigan, we investigate this...
Article
Governance systems are characterized by differing degrees of centralized vs decentralized decision-making and distribution of powers. This study investigates the history of Chinese centralized decentralization reforms in collective forestry using data from government documents and secondary literature based on the democratic decentralization and en...
Article
Forest landscapes are complex socio-environmental systems. The degree to which forests support human livelihoods, and humans affect forest ecology, depends in part on the spatial relationship between people and forests. Here, we estimate the number of people who live in and around forests globally. We combined forest cover and human population dens...
Article
Equifinality—a situation where multiple plausible explanations exist for a single outcome—presents a challenge for socio-environmental systems modeling. When equifinality is ignored in model calibration, subsequent policy analyses may mis-estimate the range of potential policy effects. In this paper, we present and demonstrate an approach—entitled...
Article
Strategies aiming to increase the climate resilience of smallholder agricultural systems may not equally benefit all groups of the smallholder population. To reduce the potential for aggravating existing vulnerabilities, quantitative resilience analyses therefore need to acknowledge the possibility for inequities in the effects of proposed resilien...
Article
This review focuses on the relationship between cash transfer-based social assistance programs and the climate resilience of households and communities. Governments in lower and middle-income countries have adopted cash transfer programs widely – both in the conditional and unconditional variants – across Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and sout...
Article
As the severity of the triple challenges of global inequality, climate change and biodiversity loss becomes clearer, governments and international development institutions must find effective policy instruments to respond. We examine the potential of social assistance policies in this context. Social assistance refers to transfers to poor, vulnerab...
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge of land cover and land use nationally is a prerequisite of many studies on drivers of land change, impacts on climate, carbon storage and other ecosystem services, and allows for sufficient planning and management. Despite this, many regions globally do not have accurate and consistent coverage at the national scale. This is certainly tru...
Article
Full-text available
This inaugural World Development Symposium on Development and Poverty Alleviation brings together contributions from a range of disciplines, scholars, practitioners, and countries to mark the recognition of Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer (BDK) through the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel...
Article
Recent large‐scale land transactions, often framed as “land grabbing,” are historically unprecedented. Millions of hectares of land have changed hands for agriculture‐driven development over the past decade, and their implementation generates substantial risk of land degradation. This paper aims to investigate land transaction patterns and evaluate...
Article
Full-text available
Many indigenous communities across Latin America depend on forests for livelihood. In eastern Bolivia, indigenous communities face increasing challenges in forest management due to insecure land tenure, lack of capacity, and state policies that favor extractivism and export-oriented agriculture. This case study examines the dilemma of forest manage...
Article
Across the lower- and middle-income world, investors are acquiring rights to large swathes of land for agricultural development, threatening both existing livelihoods and the environment. The full weight of future impacts remains uncertain. But research on sustainable agriculture offers avenues to mitigate, diffuse, and avoid negative environmental...
Article
Smallholder farmers in the Ethiopian Highlands face increasingly difficult farming conditions. Agricultural intensification to feed the growing rural population, livestock pressure on native vegetation, and climate change converge to exacerbate soil erosion, creating a significant threat to crop productivity and rural livelihoods. Farmer trainings...
Article
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Leaders of sustainability research organizations need to provide an environment where interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary science flourish. Developing the necessary leadership skills and attributes requires new, targeted training programmes.
Article
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Contemporary large-scale land transactions (LSLTs), also called land grabs, are historically unprecedented in their scale and pace. They have provoked robust scholarly debates, yet studies of their gender-differentiated impacts remain more rare, particularly when it comes to how changes in control over land and resources affect women's labor, and t...
Article
Full-text available
Since the 1980’s, decentralized forest management has been promoted as a way to enhance sustainable forest use and reduce rural poverty. Rural communities manage increasing amounts of the world’s forests, yet rigorous evidence using large-N data on whether community-based forest management (CFM) can jointly reduce both deforestation and poverty rem...
Article
Halting and reversing global forest loss is a key priority for sustainable development pathways. Multiple countries in the Global South have recently transitioned from net forest loss to net forest gain. Understanding and explaining reforestation patterns is necessary to better understand land cover dynamics and create more effective sustainability...
Article
Full-text available
A number of governance mechanisms address socio-environmental challenges associated with commodity agriculture in tropical forested countries. Governance mechanisms that prove effective in one agricultural sector are often applied to other sectors as well. For example, voluntary certification programs have been adopted by producers of commodities a...
Article
The outcomes of forest management (FM) as implemented by industrial logging corporations in tropical forests is an issue that merits greater scrutiny than it has received thus far. We, therefore, welcome the contribution by Karsenty et al. (2017) that questions some of the findings advanced in our article (Brandt et al., 2016). Our paper used satel...
Book
Full-text available
Los bosques y los árboles contribuyen de muchas formas a reducir la inseguridad alimentaria, apoyando medios de vida sostenibles y mitigando la pobreza. En el informe de la FAO sobre el Estado de los bosques del mundo 2014 (SOFO 2014; FAO, 2014a) se subraya que, para casi un tercio de la población mundial, la madera es la principal fuente de energí...
Article
North American forests provide multiple ecosystem services, such as carbon storage, biodiversity, and recreation. These services are often coordinated through multifunctional management, whereby various users and owners contribute to collective agendas. Forests in exurban “transition” zones are crucial components in the sustainability of broader me...
Article
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We welcome the comments of Pinto et al. [1] to our article [2].[...]
Article
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Environmental conservation initiatives, including marine protected areas (MPAs), have proliferated in recent decades. Designed to conserve marine biodiversity, many MPAs also seek to foster sustainable development. As is the case for many other environmental policies and programs, the impacts of MPAs are poorly understood. Social–ecological systems...
Research
Full-text available
This study presents the results of a comparative assessment of the effects of four cases of land transactions in western Ethiopia in the states of Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz. The study contributes to the larger body of research on large-scale land transactions. It does so through a particular focus on how these transactions are affecting women an...
Article
Objectives, assumptions, and methods for landscape restoration and the landscape approach. World leaders have pledged 350 Mha for restoration using a landscape approach. The landscape approach is thus poised to become one of the most influential methods for multi-functional land management. Reed et al (2016) meaningfully advance scholarship on the...
Article
Full-text available
In Brazil, the Cadastro Ambiental Rural (CAR) is currently being implemented. This policy aims to geo-reference all properties and promote monitoring of, and compliance with, natural vegetation conservation requirements. Scholarly efforts and policy attention have so far concentrated on possible environmental impacts hereof, while the attention dev...
Chapter
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Coastal communities depend on the marine environment for their livelihoods, but the common property nature of marine resources poses major challenges for the governance of such resources. Through detailed cases and consideration of broader global trends, this volume examines how coastal communities are adapting to environmental change, and the attr...
Article
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Through different policies and measures reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation and enhancing conservation (REDD+) has grown into a way to induce behavior change of forest managers and landowners in tropical countries. We argue that debates around REDD+ in Brazil have typically highlighted rewards and punishments, obscuring other core...
Article
Full-text available
Agricultural systems, with their links to human wellbeing, have been at the heart of sustainability debates for decades. But there is only limited agreement among scientists and stakeholders about the indicators needed to measure the sustainability of agricultural commodity production. We analyze the metrics and indicators of sustainability used in...
Article
Full-text available
Conservation and development practitioners increasingly promote community forestry as a way to conserve ecosystem services, consolidate resource rights, and reduce poverty. However, outcomes of community forestry have been mixed, with many initiatives failing to achieve intended objectives. There is a rich literature on community forestry instituti...
Article
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Biosphere reserves are an example of social-ecological systems that combine biodiversity conservation and socioeconomic development with knowledge generation and dissemination (both scientific and local). We review lessons learned from case studies biosphere reserves in western African and France, highlighting the importance of early stakeholder en...
Article
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Brazil's Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) is a potentially promising avenue to slow deforestation on private properties as it facilitates the monitoring of land use. Yet limited empirical evidence exists on how the CAR affects smallholders' behavior and recent scholarly efforts have in fact indicated that it may be doing less to protect forests t...
Article
Full-text available
Over the past decade, an unprecedented boom in land transactions—commonly referred to as land grabbing—has occurred globally. At least 45 million hectares of land have changed hands through concessions, long-term leases, and ownership transfers ([ 1 ][1], [ 2 ][2]). Driven by volatility in
Article
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The relationship between forests and people is of substantial interest to peoples and agencies that govern and use them, private sector actors that seek to manage and profit from them, NGOs who support and implement conservation and development projects, and researchers who study these relationships and others. The term 'forest-dependent people' is...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Transição para uma agropecuária mais sustentável e com baixas emissões no Brasil Lições da certificação e de outros projetos para a pecuária e café sustentáveis no Brasil MAIO 2016 PRINCIPAIS RESULTADOS Pecuária  Pecuaristas participaram de iniciativas de sustentabilidade principalmente para aumentar a produção, reduzir custos, aprender novas prát...
Technical Report
Full-text available
KEY FINDINGS Cattle  Cattle producers joined sustainability initiatives primarily to increase production, reduce production costs, learn new practices and access innovations, and because of their interest in sustainability.  Farmers who shifted to sustainable intensification practices increased their productivity. Some also accessed new markets a...
Technical Report
Full-text available
KEY FINDINGS Cattle  Cattle producers joined sustainability initiatives primarily to increase production, reduce production costs, learn new practices and access innovations, and because of their interest in sustainability.  Farmers who shifted to sustainable intensification practices increased their productivity. Some also accessed new markets a...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the relationships and tradeoffs among management outcomes in forest commons has assumed new weight in the context of parallels between the objectives of community forest management and those of reduced emissions for deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) programs to reduce carbon emissions while supporting local livelihoods. We...
Article
Full-text available
The challenges of sustainability and sustainable development are multifaceted and complex. Addressing them in the long run requires a revolution in the training of future generations of learners so that they can devise solutions for sustainability dilemmas in environments characterized by uncertainty, information deficits, and asymmetric power rela...