Thursday, February 15, 2007

In Niger, Trees and Crops Turn Back the Desert

The above article from the NY Times started a very interesting debate on Thom's Board and brought out a lot of different sources of information in the debate. I at first did not even pay attention to the thread. But then I saw How Property Rights are Helping Green the Sahel in Niger at "The Commons". And so I thought back the original thread title: Trees reverse Deserts and thought maybe it was related and it was.

And a couple of the points I made on the title link:
[I]ncreased populations does not necessarily degrade the environment.

[W]ell defined property rights of individuals created the incentives to protect the environment? This is a common problem of "tragedy of the commons" when it is owned by everyone then no ONE person owns it.

And I ended my simple points with a link to a PDF report: GROWING GREEN: THE CHALLENGE OF SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA . This is a good report that questions some of the theoretical assumptions that organic farming (or more broadly as non-industrial) is always sustainable and better for the environment.

The blog post Property Rights In Action is a very good presentation of what an economist would take away from the title article. I do think that his fears of communal rights is somewhat unfounded and does not take into account the influences a group has on the individual in positive manners also. The second blog post called Small Changes Can Make a Difference calls the transfer of property rights (as the above post states) from the state to individuals (small groups) as the privatization of trees. This is not exactly correct but is headed in the right direction and of course small changes in behavior is most important. What causes that change is why Economists study incentives as much as they do.

Another economist also noted the lack of property rights in Togo: Almost Club Med and I included it in my blog post Freedom and Environmental Protection.

Instead of this post getting too long I will continue with a more broader analysis of Niger in my next post.

Edit (02-16-07): Just a couple of more points on Niger. Niger has a Environmental Performance Index of 25.7 the lowest number in all 133 countries surveyed.
And was based on: Health, Biodiversity, Energy, Water, Air and Natural Resources.

As far as ratings of peoples' freedoms from Freedom House, since 1999 they have become Partially Free from Not Free status. And the trend is going in a positive direction with 2005 being rated as 3 and 3 on a 1-7 point scale (lower number better) for "PR" stands for "Political Rights," "CL" stands for "Civil Liberties," and "Status" is the Freedom Status.

PS: I see someone has stopped by to give us a link to Hello learn more about NIGER LATEST NEWS ON.

PSS: Here is an example of what can happen when measures like above are not used in "Creeping dunes threaten African nation". Yahoo disappears so here is some alternative links: ABC, The Conservative Voice.

PSSS: Update link to Creeping Dunes Threaten African Nation Thursday, 5-Apr-2007 6:14PM PDT

PSSSS: Frances Moore Lappe, "Ecomind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want".



Blogger NIGER1.COM said...

Hello learn more about NIGER LATEST NEWS ON

4:27 PM, February 15, 2007  

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