Navigation path

Themes
Agriculture & food
Energy
Environment
  Atmosphere
  Biodiversity
  Clean technology and recycling
  Climate & global change
  Cultural heritage
  Earth Observation
  Ecosystems, incl. land, inland waters, marine
  Health & environment
  Land management
  Natural disasters
  Sustainable development
  Urban living
  Other
ERA-NET
Health & life sciences
Human resources & mobility
Industrial research
Information society
Innovation
International cooperation
Nanotechnology
Pure sciences
Research infrastructures
Research policy
Science & business
Science in society
Security
SMEs
Social sciences and humanities
Space
Special Collections
Transport

Countries
Countries
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece
  Hungary
  Iceland
  India
  Indonesia
  Ireland
  Israel
  Italy
  Jamaica
  Japan
  Kazakhstan
  Kenya
  Korea
  Latvia
  Lichtenstein
  Lithuania
  Luxembourg
  Madagascar
  Malaysia
  Malta
  Mexico
  Montenegro
  Morocco
  Mozambique
  Namibia
  Netherlands
  New Zealand
  Nigeria
  Norway
  Panama
  Peru
  Poland
  Portugal
  Romania
  Russia
  Senegal
  Serbia
  Slovakia
  Slovenia
  South Africa
  Spain
  Sri Lanka
  Swaziland
  Sweden
  Switzerland
  Taiwan
  Tanzania
  Thailand
  Tunisia
  Turkey
  Uganda
  Ukraine
  United Kingdom
  United States
  Vietnam


   Environment

Last Update: 08-12-2010  
Related category(ies):
Research policy  |  Environment

 

Add to PDF "basket"

Spotlight on forest shifts, trade and land use

An increasing number of developing countries are outsourcing deforestation to help protect and restore their local forests, according to a new study. The research was funded in part by the REDD-ALERT ('Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation through alternative land uses in rainforests of the Tropics') project, which clinched EUR 3.49 million under the Environment Theme of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), could affect measures currently being taken to ensure the sustainability of 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 neighbouring countries, a significant fraction of these imports being illegal © Patrick Meyfroidt
The rapid net gain in forest area in Vietnam since the early 1990s has been accompanied by an increase in timber imports from neighbouring countries, a significant fraction of these imports being illegal
©  Patrick Meyfroidt

Researchers from Stanford University and Rutgers University in the US and the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Belgium said our planet's forests are disappearing at a rate of more than 32 million acres each year — an area that is about the size of England.

'Reducing deforestation is an international priority, given its impacts on carbon emissions and biodiversity,' explained Professor Eric Lambin of Stanford and UCL, one of the authors of the study. '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.'

For the purposes of their study, the team evaluated the link between reforestation at the national scale and global trade in forest and agricultural products over a near 50-year period (1961-2007). The team discovered that six developing nations introduced measures that focused more on net reforestation than net deforestation: Chile, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, India and Vietnam.

They also found that save for India, the countries reported a drop in their timber harvests and new farmland, which triggered a higher demand for imported wood and agricultural products.

'For every 100 acres of reforestation in these 5 countries, they imported the equivalent of 74 acres of forest products,' said Dr Patrick Meyfroidt from the Earth and Life Institute of the Georges Lemaître Centre for Earth and Climate Research (TECLIM), UCL, the 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.'

The TECLIM researcher said the net land-use displacement jumped to 52 acres of imported agricultural or forestry products for every 100 acres reforested. In a nutshell, for one acre of reforested land, a half acre was used elsewhere, including countries like Brazil and Indonesia, which represented 61% of all the deforestation in humid tropics between 2000 and 2005.

A number of actions can be performed to ease deforestation abroad including integrating environmental degradation data in global trade rules, and strengthening international cooperation on issues related to deforestation and land use.

'If local forest production 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,' Professor Lambin underlined. 'However, this study does not imply that the efforts of these countries to protect their forests were 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.'


Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also

REDD-ALERT
Stanford University
Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL)
PNAS





  Top   Research Information Center