Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Developing countries often outsource deforestation, study finds

Date:
November 24, 2010
Source:
Stanford University
Summary:
In many developing countries, forest restoration at home has led to deforestation abroad, according to researchers. The authors say their findings could have significant implications for ongoing efforts to protect the world's remaining forests.

The rapid net gain in forest area in Vietnam since the early 1990s has been accompanied by an increase in timber imports from neighboring countries, a significant fraction of these imports being illegal.
Credit: Patrick Meyfroidt

In many developing countries, forest restoration at home has led to deforestation abroad, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The authors say their findings could have significant implications for ongoing efforts to protect the world's remaining forests, which are disappearing at an annual rate of more than 32 million acres -- an area roughly the size of England.

"Reducing deforestation is an international priority, given its impacts on carbon emissions and biodiversity," said study co-author Eric Lambin of Stanford University in California and the University of Louvain in Belgium. "However, our study found that strengthened forest-conservation policies and economic expansion often increased the demand for imported timber and agricultural products, which contributed to deforestation abroad."

In the study, Lambin and co-authors Patrick Meyfroidt (University of Louvain) and Thomas Rudel (Rutgers University) analyzed the relationship between reforestation at the national scale and the international trade in forest and agricultural products between 1961 and 2007. The researchers focused on six developing countries -- China, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, India and Vietnam -- that underwent a shift from net deforestation to net reforestation during that period.

Exporting deforestation

In five of the six countries (with the exception of India), the return of native forests was accompanied by a reduction in timber harvests and new farmland, thus creating a demand for imported wood and agricultural products.

"For every 100 acres of reforestation in these five countries, they imported the equivalent of 74 acres of forest products," said Meyfroidt, a postdoctoral researcher at Louvain and lead author of the study. "Taking into account their exports of agricultural products, the net balance amounted to 22 acres of land used in other countries."

During the past five years, the net land-use displacement increased to 52 acres of imported agricultural or forestry products for every 100 acres reforested, he added. That is, for every acre of reforested land, a half-acre was used elsewhere, including countries like Brazil and Indonesia, which together accounted for 61 percent of the all deforestation in the humid tropics between 2000 and 2005.

Glass half full

"If local forest protection merely shifts forest-conversion pressure to natural forests elsewhere in the world, we will not achieve a net gain for nature at a global scale," Lambin said. "However, this study does not imply that the efforts of these countries to protect their forests was useless, but that international trade in wood and agricultural products can decrease the global environmental benefits of national forest-protection policies. The glass is half full, not just half empty."

Meyfroidt pointed to several ways that countries could work together to reduce deforestation abroad, including:

  • Strengthening international cooperation on issues related to deforestation and land use.
  • Integrating trade data in international negotiations on environmental issues.
  • Integrating environmental degradation data in international trade rules.
  • Promoting certification systems that better link consumption decisions with environmental impacts at production sites.

According to the authors, the study has important implications for the Dec. 5 meeting of the United Nations Collaborative Initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) in Cancun, Mexico.

"The REDD mechanism that is under negotiation should include guardrails to assure that countries that commit to decrease their rate of deforestation do not export their deforestation," Meyfroidt said.

Eric Lambin is professor of environmental Earth system science and senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford; and professor of geography at UCLouvain.

Thomas Rudel is professor of human ecology and of sociology at Rutgers.

The research was funded in part by a European Union Seventh Framework Programme Grant.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stanford University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Stanford University. "Developing countries often outsource deforestation, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101123112150.htm>.
Stanford University. (2010, November 24). Developing countries often outsource deforestation, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101123112150.htm
Stanford University. "Developing countries often outsource deforestation, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101123112150.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) Poachers have killed 100,000 elephants between 2010 and 2012, as the booming ivory trade takes its toll on the animals in Africa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) Malaysia's last "fish listeners" -- practitioners of a dying local art of listening underwater to locate their quarry -- try to keep the ancient technique alive in the face of industrial trawling and the depletion of stocks. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins