Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Biogeography

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Deforestation frontiers are widespread across tropical dry woodlands

Ana Buchadas, Matthias Baumann, Patrick Meyfroidt and Tobias Kuemmerle

 

Summary:

We develop an approach to map spatial and temporal patterns of deforestation frontiers and apply it to the world’s tropical dry woodlands. We find across regions, areas under drastic loss, termed rampant frontiers, and that many frontiers are just starting to unfold.

 

Abstract:

Tropical dry woodlands are rapidly being lost to agricultural expansion, but how deforestation dynamics play out in these woodlands remains poorly understood. Here, we develop an approach to detect and map high-level patterns of deforestation frontiers, i.e., the expansion of woodland loss, across continents in unprecedented spatio-temporal detail. Deforestation in tropical dry woodlands is pervasive, with over 71 Mha lost since 2000 and one third of wooded areas located in deforestation frontiers. Over 24.3 Mha of deforestation frontiers fall into what we term ‘rampant frontiers’. These are characterized by drastic woodland loss and conditions favorable for capital-intensive agriculture, as seen in the South American Chaco and Southeast Asia. We find many active and emerging frontiers (~59% of all frontiers), mostly in the understudied dry woodlands of Africa and Asia, where greater frontier monitoring is needed. Our approach enables consistent, repeatable frontier monitoring, and our global frontier typology fosters comparative research and context-specific policy making.


Link to the manuscript: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-022-00886-9

 

Citation: Buchadas, A., Baumann, M., Meyfroidt, P. et al. Uncovering major types of deforestation frontiers across the world’s tropical dry woodlands. Nat Sustain (2022).

 

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