S.J.D. dissertation, written under the supervision of David Cassuto (committee chair), Nicholas Robinson, and Ann Powers

Document Type



This study is divided into six main chapters. The first chapter is dedicated to situate forests in the global context and providing a detailed description of the Atlantic Rainforest's history, ecological features, geographical and demographical information and its potential contribution to emissions and removals of greenhouse gases. Considering the traditional trend of not valuing ecosystem services, this first chapter introduces the notion of economic incentives to promote forest conservation and regeneration policies highlighting existing market-based approaches. The goal is twofold: first, to compare the Atlantic forest's reality and characteristics with a worldwide deforestation trend; second to provide an understanding of the nature of existing carbon forest market schemes and how they operate.

Next, this study presents an overview of the evolution of the forest market-based approaches internationally. Since the CDM of the Kyoto Protocol is the dominant regulatory market influencing various trading schemes around the world, understanding how the international community overcame conflicting interests and technical obstacles to build consensus over such an economic incentive is crucial to identifying its practical implementation challenges. Subsequently, chapter four builds upon the analysis of the previous chapter by laying down the evolution of the CDM's legal and institutional framework. Being able to visualize the legal and institutional framework is critical to understanding the operational and bureaucratic bottlenecks of a CDM forestry project implementation process.

Having stressed down the Atlantic forest's main ecological and socio-economic features and constraints along with the implementation challenges of the dominant carbon forest market, the fifth chapter turns to examining current obstacles to, and impacts of, forestry activities specific to the Atlantic Rainforest biome. Then, this study provides a thorough analysis of the current command-and-control regime governing conservation and regeneration practices in the Atlantic forest. It examines the legal framework in light of the procedural rules of the regulatory market while assessing the maximization potentialities of both voluntary and regulatory carbon forest markets. Before a conclusion can be draw, the final chapter provides policy recommendations to overcome the identifiable obstacles to, and adverse impacts of, carbon forest markets in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest.