Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 510588
Title Why do forest products become less available? A pan-tropical comparison of drivers of forest-resource degradation
Author(s) Hermans, Kathleen; Gerstner, Katharina; Geijzendorffer, Ilse R.; Herold, Martin; Seppelt, Ralf; Wunder, Sven
Source Environmental Research Letters 11 (2016). - ISSN 1748-9326 - 14 p.
Department(s) Laboratory of Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Abstract Forest products provide an important source of income and wellbeing for rural smallholder communities across the tropics. Although tropical forest products frequently become over-exploited, only few studies explicitly address the dynamics of degradation in response to socio-economic drivers. Our study addresses this gap by analyzing the factors driving changes in tropical forest products in the perception of rural smallholder communities. Using the poverty and environment network global dataset, we studied recently perceived trends of forest product availability considering firewood, charcoal, timber, food, medicine, forage and other forest products. We looked at a pan-tropical sample of 233 villages with forest access. Our results show that 90% of the villages experienced declining availability of forest resources over the last five years according to the informants. Timber and fuelwood together with forest foods were featured as the most strongly affected, though with marked differences across continents. In contrast, availability of at least one main forest product was perceived to increase in only 39% of the villages. Furthermore, the growing local use of forest resources is seen as the main culprit for the decline. In villages with both growing forest resource use and immigration—vividly illustrating demographic pressures—the strongest forest resources degradation was observed. Conversely, villages with little or no population growth and a decreased use of forest resources were most likely to see significant forest-resource increases. Further, villages are less likely to perceive resource declines when local communities own a significant share of forest area. Our results thus suggest that perceived resource declines have only exceptionally triggered adaptations in local resource-use and management patterns that would effectively deal with scarcity. Hence, at the margin this supports neo-Malthusian over neo-Boserupian explanations of local resource-use dynamics.
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