Does Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification of “responsible” commercial forestry change nutrition, health and wealth for indigenous peoples, like the Aka of the Congo Basin? Using hand-collected data from the boundary of a certified and an uncertified forest in the Republic of Congo five years after certification, I compare nutrition, health, and wealth using questions that are locally salient and survey timing designed to reach seminomadic hunter-gatherers. Though I only observe outcomes after certification, using a spatial regression discontinuity design I find suggestive evidence that activities to satisfy forest certification may cause increased food insecurity and illness frequency for Aka households. I find no evidence of increased material wealth; instead, the poorest 15th percentile is poorer for Aka households. Non-Aka households are unaffected. Activities to satisfy FSC include a road connection, likely requested by non-Aka households, which in combination with hunting restrictions may decrease food security for Aka hunter-gatherers.



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URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/econ_fac/159