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Title: Factors affecting forest area change in Southeast Asia during 1980-2010
Authors: Imai, Nobuo
Furukawa, Takuya
Tsujino, Riyou
Kitamura, Shumpei
Yumoto, Takakazu
Keywords: Area forest
Southeast Asia
Issue Date: 2018
Series/Report no.: PLOS One;pp. 1 - 14
Abstract: While many tropical countries are experiencing rapid deforestation, some have experienced forest transition (FT) from net deforestation to net reforestation. Numerous studies have identified causative factors of FT, among which forest scarcity has been considered as a prerequisite for FT. In fact, in SE Asia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam, which experienced FT since 1990, exhibited a lower remaining forest area (30±8%) than the other five countries (68±6%, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, and Myanmar) where forest loss continues. In this study, we examined 1) the factors associated with forest scarcity, 2) the proximate and/or underlying factors that have driven forest area change, and 3) whether causative factors changed across FT phases (from deforestation to net forest gain) during 1980–2010 in the eight SE Asian countries. We used production of wood, food, and exportoriented food commodities as proximate causes and demographic, social, economic and environmental factors, as well as land-use efficiency, and wood and food trade as underlying causes that affect forest area change. Remaining forest area in 1990 was negatively correlated with population density and potential land area of lowland forests, while positively correlated with per capita wood production. This implies that countries rich in accessible and productive forests, and higher population pressures are the ones that have experienced forest scarcity, and eventually FT. Food production and agricultural input were negatively and positively correlated, respectively, with forest area change during 1980–2009. This indicates that more food production drives deforestation, but higher efficiency of agriculture is correlated with forest gain. We also found a U-shaped response of forest area change to social openness, suggesting that forest gain can be achieved in both open and closed countries, but deforestation might be accelerated in countries undergoing societal transition. These results indicate the importance of environmental, agricultural and social variables on forest area dynamics, and have important implications for predicting future tropical forest change.
Appears in Collections:Agriculture and rural development

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