The underlying causes of deforestation and the patterns of forest transition: Implications for the international REDD policy

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International attention is focussed on ways to reduce deforestation because of the emerging concerns over greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. However the underlying causes of deforestation are rooted in current economic and development paradigms. This chapter looks at the reasons why deforestation occurs and its environmental aspects with respect to the level of economic development and climate change. To explore the impact of economic development on deforestation, the changing pattern of forest transition, i.e. an Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) relationship for deforestation, should be detailed. The forest transition patterns could assist in directing the goal of international Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) policies. While addressing some common methodological issues of the cross country studies, this chapter therefore examines the relationship between deforestation and economic growth, conditional on the main underlying causes of deforestation for developing countries. The results, based on panel data analyses, show that forest sector policies and population density could increase deforestation, while some macroeconomic policies, if associated with technological progress, could decrease deforestation. An inverted U-shaped EKC empirically fits for Latin American and African countries, while a U-shaped EKC does the same for Asian countries. The estimates and the shapes of EKC for the three regions of developing countries could, in particular, direct designing the specific goals of international REDD policies for those regions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in environmental research
EditorsJustin A Daniels
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781621008590
ISBN (Print)9781617287749
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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