According to feminist political ecology, women are uniquely and disproportionately affected by forest loss in many low- or middle-income countries (LMICs) because of gender divisions with regard to labor, land access, and forest resources. However, most macro-comparative theories of development (including economic dependency, ecological modernization, treadmill of production, world society, and neo-Malthusian theories) tend to ignore gender. We draw on ideas from feminist political ecology to examine how gender-focused bilateral aid in the environmental sector impacts forest loss from 2001 to 2015. To do so, we analyze data for 79 LMICs using ordinary least squares regression. We find that more gender-focused bilateral aid in the environmental sector is related to less forest loss. We also find support for economic dependency theory (more agricultural and forestry exports are related to more forest loss) and neo-Malthusian theory (more population growth is related to more forest loss). The main finding on bilateral financing supports the idea that gender should receive more attention in cross-national research, especially the integration of gender-related measures into analyses to refine and expand conventional macro-theories of development.

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