Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Demand for wood may lead to forest growth, not decline, study says

02.05.2003


Under the right economic conditions, a growing demand for forest products that accompanies development may lead to an increase – not a decline – in forest cover, according to a new study by researchers at Brown University and Harvard University. Policies that focus on reducing paper demand may not necessarily increase forestation.

The study examined the connection between the economy and forest cover in India, a country with a relatively closed economy that experienced an apparent increase in forest growth in recent decades. Estimates obtained from satellite images of a sample of representative rural areas in India suggested an increase from about 10 percent forest cover in 1971 to about 24 percent in 1999.

“Concern about the phenomena of global warming and declining biodiversity has focused attention on the link between the world’s forests and economic growth,” said Andrew D. Foster, professor and chair of the Department of Economics at Brown. “By carefully structuring its policies, India set the stage for an increase in demand for this natural resource to lead to an increase in its supply.”



Foster conducted the study, published in the May 2003 Quarterly Journal of Economics, with Mark R. Rosenzweig, the Mohamed Kamal Professor of Public Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Using satellite images of land use in rural India during nearly three decades, household survey data and census data, researchers sought to identify the underlying paths by which economic growth affects forests.

The increase in forest growth was not automatic, the researchers said. Several of India’s policies contributed to the forest increase: economic incentives such as providing people with a share of the revenue when timber was extracted from public forests (encouraging them to farm trees as they would another crop); conservation methods such as protection of forest areas and joint forest management; and trade policies that limited importation of forest products.

The growing demand for forest products –wood for newspaper, furniture and new homes – appeared to be met by planting new trees rather than further exploiting existing forests.

“The owners of forest resources had an incentive to increase the supply of trees in response to the increased demand because they reaped at least part of the reward from sale of the trees,” said Rosenzweig.

The nature of India’s economy enabled researchers to identify the relationship between economic growth and forest growth. India is a closed economy in which the demand for forest products was met by indigenous trees. In open economies – those in which forest products are traded broadly – there is no systematic relationship between economic growth and changes in forest cover, according to the researchers.

Foster and Rosenzweig began investigating whether economic factors such as agricultural productivity and wages were driving differences in forest change within India, but found that these processes could not explain an increase in India’s forests. Their findings do not support either of two explanations for forest growth previously discussed by economists: that increased agricultural productivity increases tree area by decreasing the need for expansion of agricultural lands; that growth in rural employment increases forests by moving labor out of forest-resource extraction.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.

Kristen Cole | Brown University
Further information:
http://www.brown.edu/Administration/News_Bureau/2002-03/02-127.html

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Six-legged livestock -- sustainable food production
11.05.2017 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

nachricht Elephant Herpes: Super-Shedders Endanger Young Animals
04.05.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>