Whither the forest transition? Climate change, policy responses, and redistributed forests in the twenty-first century

Rudel, Thomas K., Meyfroidt, Patrick, Chazdon, Robin, Bongers, Frans, Sloan, Sean, Grau, H. Ricardo, Van Holt, Tracy, and Schneider, Laura (2020) Whither the forest transition? Climate change, policy responses, and redistributed forests in the twenty-first century. Ambio, 49. pp. 74-84.

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Abstract

Forest transitions occur when net reforestation replaces net deforestation in places. Because forest transitions can increase biodiversity and augment carbon sequestration, they appeal to policymakers contending with the degrading effects of forest loss and climate change. What then can policymakers do to trigger forest transitions? The historical record over the last two centuries provides insights into the precipitating conditions. The early transitions often occurred passively, through the spontaneous regeneration of trees on abandoned agricultural lands. Later forest transitions occurred more frequently after large-scale crisis narratives emerged and spurred governments to take action, often by planting trees on degraded, sloped lands. To a greater degree than their predecessors, latecomer forest transitions exhibit centralized loci of power, leaders with clearly articulated goals, and rapid changes in forest cover. These historical shifts in forest transitions reflect our growing appreciation of their utility for countering droughts, floods, land degradation, and climate change.

Item ID: 61431
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1654-7209
Keywords: Forest gains, Forest transitions, Latecomer effects, Tree plantations
Copyright Information: (C) Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2019
Funders: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Projects and Grants: NSF PARTNERS Research Coordination Network Grant #DEB1313788
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2020 07:43
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410103 Human impacts of climate change and human adaptation @ 20%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 80%
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