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Village forest changes in China

Research Achievements

Village forest changes in China

Trainee Jamon Van Den Hoek is examining reasons for spatial variability in village forest changes in rural Yunnan, China. He has found considerable variability in forest changes despite the presence of a region-wide logging ban that attempts to reduce deforestation and increase forested areas. To understand what is causing these differences in forest changes, he interviewed over 100 households across three neighboring villages that have exhibited comparably high loss or gain of forest area. By linking forest changes seen in satellite imagery to household interview data, he found that while village institutions and policy enforcement are effectively consistent across study villages, the response to forest resource scarcity greatly differs. Villages with more cash income can buy firewood and timber from outside forests. This means that richer villages’ forests expand at the expense of more distant forest areas, yet other villages have no choice but to continue exploiting local forests.