UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Charles Taylor, University of California, Berkeley

Rain follows the forest: Land use policy, climate change, and adaptation

Date and Location

Thursday, October 20, 2022, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM
Online Meeting, Zoom


Human actions can alter the local and regional climate, particularly via land use. We assess the impact of the Great Plains Shelterbelt, a large-scale forestation program in the 1930s which planted 220 million trees across six US Midwestern states. The program led to a regional increase in precipitation and decrease in temperature, with impacts persisting for several decades. The change in climate extends to adjacent unforested land up to 200km away--enabling us to directly study climate adaptation. In places now facing more favorable growing conditions, crop yields increase by 34% and farmers switch to more water-intensive production. This paper highlights the endogeneity risk in using spatial variation in climate trends in estimating climate damages, as well as the potential for tree planting to mitigate climate change impacts.

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