Tree plantation and natural forest

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Tree Plantation Bangalore – Turahalli Forest 07-07-2013

Do tree plantations support forest conservation?

Key messages

  • Tree plantations potentially support natural forest conservation. The main hypothesis for this effect is that tree plantations substitute natural forests for production, especially when plantations achieve high productivity.
  • An exhaustive review of the published literature shows a diversity of analytical approaches with theoretical modeling, econometrics or descriptive statistics as main categories. -
  • This diversity reflects the complexity of translating a simple assumption into models because of the many factors at play. The analysis is all the more necessary as the positive substitution effect is straightforward, but potential negative (as well as other positive) impacts resulting from feedback/indirect effects, e.g. displacement of deforestation or replication of successful policies elsewhere, require more sophisticated methods to be understood.
  • There is a convergence of findings of reduced degradation of natural forests with the expansion of tree plantations, but also potential increased deforestation due to lower market value of natural forests in the absence of logging (or displacement effects).

Read the full article : CIFOR

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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