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Library Human Ecology of Regrowth in the Tropics

Human Ecology of Regrowth in the Tropics

Human Ecology of Regrowth in the Tropics

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Date of publication
December 2012
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ISBN / Resource ID

As the losses of tropical forests have accumulated over the past three decades, largely deforested areas have increased in extent in the tropics, and observers have begun to ask questions about the circumstances under which tropical forests reemerge in deforested areas. This article addresses these questions through a meta-analysis of 63 case studies of tropical forest cover change that report net regrowth in forests. Regrowth tends to occur in largely deforested highlands. The types of regrowth (spontaneous versus planted) vary considerably from continent to continent, with spontaneous regrowth predominant in the Americas, agro-forestry prevalent in East Africa, and forest plantations common in Asia. Forest reforms that secure land tenure and allocate to locals the proceeds from the sale of forest products associate positively with the incidence of regrowth. Increases in the size of the non-farm sector and the extent of out-migration also seem to spur an expansion in tropical regrowth. Policies that build on these pre-existing trends in landscapes and livelihoods should promote further regrowth in the tropics.

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Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s)

Rudel, Thomas K.

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Geographical focus