Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Biogeography

Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences | Geography Department | Biogeography | News_folder | Disentangling the numbers behind agriculture-driven tropical deforestation

Disentangling the numbers behind agriculture-driven tropical deforestation

Florence Pendrill, Toby A. Gardner, Patrick Meyfroidt, U. Martin Persson, Justin Adams, Tasso Azevedo, Mairon G. Bastos Lima, Matthias Baumann, Philip G. Curtis, Veronique De Sy, Rachael Garrett, Javier Godar, Elizabeth Dow Goldman, Matthew C. Hansen, Robert Heilmayr, Martin Herold, Tobias Kuemmerle, Michael J. Lathuillière, Vivian Ribeiro, Alexandra Tyukavina, Mikaela J. Weisse, Chris West 

 

Summary:

We gather all available information on tropical deforestation and its drivers and synthesize it to provide clarity on how agriculture drives deforestation. Up to 99% of all tropical deforestation is driven by agriculture, but only 45-60% of deforested areas actually were used for agricultural production. 

 

Abstract:

Tropical deforestation continues at alarming rates with profound impacts on ecosystems, climate, and livelihoods, prompting renewed commitments to halt its continuation. Although it is well established that agriculture is a dominant driver of deforestation, rates and mechanisms remain disputed and often lack a clear evidence base. We synthesize the best available pantropical evidence to provide clarity on how agriculture drives deforestation. Although most (90 to 99%) deforestation across the tropics 2011 to 2015 was driven by agriculture, only 45 to 65% of deforested land became productive agriculture within a few years. Therefore, ending deforestation likely requires combining measures to create deforestation-free supply chains with landscape governance interventions. We highlight key remaining evidence gaps including deforestation trends, commodity-specific land-use dynamics, and data from tropical dry forests and forests across Africa. 


Link to the manuscript: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abm9267

 

Citation: Pendrill, F., Gardner, T.A., Meyfroidt, P., Persson, U.M., Adams, J., Azevedo, T., Bastos Lima, M.G., Baumann, M., Curtis, P.G., De Sy, V., Garrett, R., Godar, J., Goldman, E.D., Hansen, M.C., Heilmayr, R., Herold, M., Kuemmerle, T., Lathuillière, M.J., Ribeiro, V., Tyukavina, A., Weisse, M.J., & West, C. (2022). Disentangling the numbers behind agriculture-driven tropical deforestation. Science, 377, eabm9267  

 

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