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Assessment of bio-physical, social and economic drivers for forest transition in Asia-Pacific region

Jawaid Ashraf, Rajiv Pandey and Wil de Jong

Forest Policy and Economics, 2017, vol. 76, issue C, 35-44

Abstract: Forest transition (FT) has taken place in many developing countries in recent decades. Analysis of developing countries FT is mostly based on case studies and exploring a limited set of drivers that result in forest cover change. This paper attempts to identify and explain trends in forest cover change across nine countries of the Asia Pacific based on panel data of a period of over 50years (1962–2011). We used discriminant analysis to identify relationships between bio-physical variables (forest cover area and land under cultivation) and socioeconomic variables (GDP, assets and infrastructure), and the transition status (transition vs. no transition) of the countries. The results show a net increase in forest cover in China, India (with consistent increase in the area of agricultural land in both), Philippines and Vietnam; and a decrease in Indonesia, Laos, and Malaysia (with a consistent decrease in the area of agricultural land). They also show a decrease of forest cover and area of agricultural land in both Japan and South Korea. The discriminant analysis results suggest that FT is linked to variation in area of agricultural land (Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam), livestock population (China, Indonesia, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia), urban population (India, Laos, Philippines, Vietnam), cereal production (Indonesia, Japan, Philippines), and area of arable land (China and Japan). The results concur with FT predictions of forest cover change in relation to bio-physical and socioeconomic dynamics, with heterogeneity in rates of change across the nine countries. The results have implications for existing FT models. We conclude that there is opportunity for a refinement of analyses and explanations of FT by considering the effect of precise bio-physical and socioeconomic drivers.

Keywords: Agricultural production; Discriminant analysis; Forest carbon; Forest transition pathways; Forest transition theory (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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