The development-driven forest transition and its utility for REDD+

Sloan, Sean (2015) The development-driven forest transition and its utility for REDD+. Ecological Economics, 116. pp. 1-11.

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Forest recovery is occurring in Panama and several other tropical countries following decades of deforestation. Theory on such 'forest transitions' describes urbanization and agricultural modernization as underling factors. Tropical country governments may seek to harness these factors to promote a tropical forest transition within the REDD+ scheme. Yet tropical forest transitions remain poorly described due to limited data and inappropriate modeling. To determine the nature of a tropical forest transition I derive canonical correlations of (a) socio-agrarian transformation observed via respondent-level census records and (b) forest-cover change observed via satellite imagery, for 82% of Panamanian counties over 1980–1990–2000–2008. The Panamanian forest transition centered on multi-decadal in situ shifts in employment from agriculture to off-farm activity, particularly by women. Agricultural modernization and decline were coincident but of lesser importance. Urbanization entailed increasingly connected small urban centers in otherwise rural landscapes. Net forest gains per decade were ~ 1.5–2% of the area of influence of the socio-agrarian transformations, which concentrate in economically and agriculturally favored regions. Governments may conceivably nurture forest transitions already underway via economic policies, but they cannot coordinate them. Even so, inefficiencies may be prohibitively high, and challenges significant. A history of failure of similar 'social engineering' endeavors urges caution in this respect.

Item ID: 38588
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-6106
Keywords: REDD; forest transition; forest recovery; Panama; tropical forest
Funders: University of Melbourne, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC CGS), Panamanian Secretary for Science and Innovation (SENACYT), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation of Australia (CSIRO), Lindbergh Foundation
Projects and Grants: SENACYT grant COL09_028
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2015 23:18
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160401 Economic Geography @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 40%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160507 Environment Policy @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9612 Rehabilitation of Degraded Environments > 961203 Rehabilitation of Degraded Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960705 Rural Land Policy @ 20%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960302 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies @ 50%
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