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Economic benefits of forest conservation: assessing the potential rents from Brazil nut concessions in Madre de Dios, Peru, to channel REDD+ investments



Brazil nut collection is key to reconciling sustainable economic development with forest conservation in the Amazon. Whether the activity is profitable, however, remains uncertain due to the paucity of information on spatial distribution and productivity of trees as well as the costs of collection and processing. To fill this gap, this study developed and used a spatially-explicit rent model of Brazil nut production to assess yields and potential profits (rents) from the Brazil nut concessions in Madre de Dios (Peru), under three scenarios of processing and management (unshelled, shelled and shelled-certified nuts). Potential annual production in the region was estimated to be 14.1 ± 2.4 thousand tonnes of unshelled nuts; at 2008 regional sale prices this corresponded to profits of between US$ 3.1 ± 0.5 ha−1 yr−1 for unshelled nuts to US$ 8.4 ± 1.4 ha−1 yr−1 for shelled-certified nuts. Investment of c. US$ 14−17 ha−1 is required to develop certified production in Madre de Dios concessions; this would approximately triple rents in these areas. Such investment could be channelled through REDD+ projects; sustainable management of Brazil nut concessions may contribute to a 42–43% reduction in deforestation in Madre de Dios by 2050.


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*Correspondence: Dr Felipe Nunes or Dr Britaldo Soares-Filho e-mail: or


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Economic benefits of forest conservation: assessing the potential rents from Brazil nut concessions in Madre de Dios, Peru, to channel REDD+ investments



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