An assessment of deforestation and forest degradation drivers in developing countries



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Countries are encouraged to identify drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in thedevelopment of national strategies and action plans for REDDC. In this letter we provide anassessment of proximate drivers of deforestation and forest degradation by synthesizing empiricaldata reported by countries as part of their REDDC readiness activities, CIFOR country profiles,UNFCCC national communications and scientific literature. Based on deforestation rate andremaining forest cover 100 (sub)tropical non-Annex I countries were grouped into four foresttransition phases. Driver data of 46 countries were summarized for each phase and by continent, andwere used as a proxy to estimate drivers for the countries with missing data. The deforestation driversare similar in Africa and Asia, while degradation drivers are more similar in Latin America and Asia.Commercial agriculture is the most important driver of deforestation, followed by subsistenceagriculture. Timber extraction and logging drives most of the degradation, followed by fuelwoodcollection and charcoal production, uncontrolled fire and livestock grazing. The results reflect themost up to date and comprehensive overview of current national-level data availability on drivers,which is expected to improve over time within the frame of the UNFCCC REDDC process.


Hosonuma, Noriko
Herold, Martin
De Sy, Veronique
DeFries, Ruth
Brockhaus, M.
Verchot, Louis
Angelsen, Arild
Romijn, Erika


Environmental Research Letters