Deforestation and Timber Production in Congo After Implementation of Sustainable Management Policy: A Response to Karsenty et al. (2017)

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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 satellite-derived deforestation data and statistical matching techniques to examine patterns of deforestation and timber production in the Republic of Congo after the implementation of FM plans in timber concessions. We found that a) deforestation rates were higher in concessions that had a registered forest management plan (FMP) compared to those that did not ; b) deforestation rates increased after a concession adopted a FMP; and c) timber production was higher and more stable in concessions that adopted a FMP than in concessions that did not. In their response, Karsenty et al. (2017) question our analytical approach and advocate for different evaluative criteria. While their response offers new and potentially valuable perspectives, it also criticizes our paper for errors our paper does not contain, and suggests we should have carried out analyses that we already did. In this rejoinder, we discuss the extent to which we consider their arguments relevant, valid, and worthy of further study. We note that neither Karsenty et al. (2017), nor any other peer-reviewed article that we know of, provide empirical results that contradict the findings of our original article.