Estimation of Damage to Human Health Due to Forest Burning in the Amazon
IPEA Working Paper No. 912
20 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2002
Date Written: October 2002
Forest burning stands as a highly used practice in the Brazilian Amazon Forest. Burning trees is the cheapest way to expand agricultural frontiers in the Amazon region. Nevertheless, the smoke generated in this process can produce undesirable negative effects, in particular health-induced problems by the polluted air. This study aims to investigate whether these effects on the health of the region's population are statistically significant, using as variables mortality and morbidity rates associated with respiratory diseases. Based on a panel data methodology with Amazon region municipal data for the 1996-99 period, and using a morbidity model, results show that this forest burning practice does have significant negative health effects. The estimated morbidity model was then used to estimate the health damage to those people who became ill only by the fire. This damage was valued by the willingness to pay (WTP) concept, indicating how much people are willing to pay to avoid this illness. Similar values estimated for European countries were adjusted for Brazil using a benefits transfer function.
Keywords: Amazon, Fire, Respiratory Diseases, Panel Data, Willingness to Pay
JEL Classification: Q20, I12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation