Economic Reasons for Forest Land-Use Change: Relevance to Tropical Deforestation and the Carbon Cycle

  • Peter J. Parks
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 101)

Abstract

Many land-clearing decisions are made for economic reasons. In this study, a general model of land-use margins is used to obtain qualitative and quantitative conclusions about economic and other variables thought to influence land-use change. Geographically detailed land-use records for the state of Bihar in northeastern India are used to illustrate links between economic changes and exchanges of carbon between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere. Estimated model parameters allow (1) land-area proportions to be estimated from economic and other data, (2) the sensitivity of land area to changes in economic or other variables to be quantified, and (3) relationships between trends in economic and other variables and carbon in terrestrial ecosystems to be quantified. This case study suggests that current trends in population on the Chhotanagpur Plateau region will lead to a 23.6% net loss of carbon from its terrestrial ecosystems by the year 2000.

Combined economic and carbon-cycle modeling is possible at various spatial and temporal scales, but this strategy encounters two major problems: specific land uses are often aggregated into broad categories for relatively large regions, and land-use observations are often available only at long time intervals. These problems are surmountable by limiting consideration to later decades, by enlarging the sample area, and/or by interpolating between land inventories. A logical and feasible extension of this combined modeling approach would be to quantify the economic or other changes required to control land-use change and its subsequent effects on terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere.

Keywords

Biomass Dioxide Maize Covariance Transportation 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Parks
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Resource and Environmental Policy ResearchDuke UniversityUSA

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