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Forests 2017, 8(4), 108;

The Dynamics of Deforestation in the Wet and Dry Tropics: A Comparison with Policy Implications

Departments of Human Ecology and Sociology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
Academic Editors: Grizelle Gonzalez and Ariel Lugo
Received: 4 March 2017 / Revised: 28 March 2017 / Accepted: 1 April 2017 / Published: 5 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tropical Forest Ecology and Management for the Anthropocene)
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Forests in the dry tropics differ significantly from forests in the humid tropics in their biomass and in their socio-ecological contexts, so it might be reasonable to assume that the dynamics that drive deforestation in these two settings would also differ. Until recently, difficulties in measuring the extent of dry tropical forests have made it difficult to investigate this claim empirically. The release of high resolution LANDSAT satellite imagery in 2013 has removed this impediment, making it possible to identify variations in the extent of wet and dry forests within countries by measuring variations in the canopy cover of their forests. These metrics have in turn made it possible to investigate human differences in the dynamics of deforestation between dry forested and wet forested nations in the tropics. Cross-national analyses suggest that international trade in agricultural commodities plays a more important role in driving deforestation in the wet tropics than it does in the dry tropics. The variable salience of international trade as a driver has important implications, described here, for the success of policies designed to slow deforestation in the dry tropics and the wet tropics. Curbing dry forest losses, in particular, would appear to require locally focused and administered policies. View Full-Text
Keywords: dry tropical forests; humid tropical forests; tropical deforestation dry tropical forests; humid tropical forests; tropical deforestation

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Rudel, T.K. The Dynamics of Deforestation in the Wet and Dry Tropics: A Comparison with Policy Implications. Forests 2017, 8, 108.

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