Many African countries have adopted community- based forest management (CBFM) to prevent deforestation. However, empirical studies have not reached a consensus on the effectiveness of CBFM. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of the establishment of participatory forest management associations in Ethiopia. We used remote sensing data to gauge the change in forest area and employed a two-stage least squares model to correct for possible biases. The results indicate that the forest area managed by forest associations declines more in the year of establishment than forest areas with no association. This finding suggests that villagers may engage in "last-minute" logging. However, 1 year after the establishment of the forest associations, the forest area of the associations increased substantially, most likely because the associations monitor illegal logging, enabling the regeneration of open areas within the registered forest area. On average, the forest area of the forest associations increased by 1.5 % in the first 2 years, whereas forest areas not managed as part of an association declined by 3.3 %. The cumulative impact over 2 years yields a net increase in the rate of change of 4.8 %. These results demonstrate that it is important to improve the monitoring of forest areas during the initial establishment of participatory forest management associations to maximize the effects of association establishment.
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