Working Papers

Forest Clearing in the Pantropics: December 2005–August 2011 - Working Paper 283

12/28/11
David Wheeler, Robin Kraft, and Dan Hammer
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Abstract

This report summarizes recent trends in large-scale tropical forest clearing identified by FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action). Our analysis includes 27 countries that accounted for 94 percent of clearing during the period 2000–2005. We highlight countries with relatively large changes since 2005, both declines and increases. FORMA produces indicators that track monthly changes in the number of 1-sq.-km. tropical forest parcels that have experienced clearing with high probability.

This report and the accompanying spreadsheet databases (Excel files, zipped) provide monthly estimates for 27 countries, 280 primary administrative units, and 2,907 secondary administrative units. Countries’ divergent experiences since 2005 have significantly altered their shares of global clearing in some cases. Brazil’s global share fell by 11.2 percentage points from December 2005 to August 2011, while the combined share of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Myanmar increased by 10.8. The diverse patterns revealed by FORMA’s first global survey caution against facile generalizations about forest clearing in the pantropics. During the past five years, the relative scale and pace of clearing have changed across regions, within regions, and within countries.

Although the overall trend seems hopeful, it remains to be seen whether the decline in forest clearing will persist as the globaleconomy recovers.

Data disclosure: The spreadsheet databases (Excel files, zipped) behind this analysis are available. Full data and Stata code are available as a data set.