Although global rates of tropical deforestation remain alarmingly high, they have decreased over the period 2000–2010, and a handful of tropical developing countries have recently been through a forest transition—a shift from net deforestation to net reforestation. This review synthesizes existing knowledge on the occurrence, causes, and ecological impacts of forest transitions and examines the prospects and policy options for a global forest transition. The ecological quality of forest transitions depends on multiple factors, including the importance of natural forest regeneration versus plantations. Given an increased competition for productive land between different land uses, a global forest transition will require major technological and policy innovations to supply wood and agricultural products. In the globalization era, national strategies aimed at forest protection and sustainable use of forest resources may have unintended effects abroad owing to a displacement of land use across countries. Decisions by consumers combined with certification schemes and moratoriums have an increasing influence on the fate of forests.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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