K.U.Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Applied Economics : Department of Economics
CES - Discussion paper series (DPS) 07.01 pages:1-35
This paper analyses current and alternative afforestation policy instruments in Flanders. First we select forest sites that maximize net social benefits given a constraint on the total area of new forests and then we select policy instruments that yield this optimal combination of sites. For each policy option, we calculate the associated costs for landowners and government as well as net social benefits for society. Our empirical illustration shows that the welfare gain is considerable if the afforestation subsidy is conditioned on an objective criterion rather than a case-by-case approach. Our results also show that it is worthwhile to consider alternative policy instruments, such as auctions, not previously used in Belgian legislation.