New data analysis shows that the relationship between economic growth and deforestation looks like half of a Kuznets curve. In other words, economic growth in less developed countries appears to be the engine of deforestation.
The Kuznets environmental curve describes the environmental impact of economic growth in different economies. In theory, the curve suggests that pollution and other environmental problems will increase as less developed economies grow. But at some point, a growing economy matures and the environmental consequences of economic growth slow down and begin to reverse.
Researchers in Laxenburg, Austria, looked at forest cover and deforestation rates, as well as economic data from 130 countries, the UPI reported.
“This study was like a large-scale natural experiment, which in economics is extremely rare,” study leader Jesus Crespo Cuaresma, a researcher at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, said in a statement. Press. “For the first time, we were able to empirically assess this effect convincingly, using natural boundaries.”
The data only revealed a half-curve. Economic growth leads to deforestation in developing countries, but does not have a constant impact on the health of forests in developed countries.
The findings, detailed in the journal Scientific Reports, are problematic, as many of the world’s least developed economies have some of the largest tracts of forest.
“Africa is home to some of the largest tracts of intact forest in the world,” said Ian McCallum, researcher at IIASA. “The factors that keep deforestation under control in other tropical regions of the world, such as good governance, surveillance systems and peace, are lacking in much of tropical Africa.”
Scientists say more needs to be done to mitigate the impact of economic development on forests.
“It’s important to keep in mind that there are many factors that contribute to deforestation,” said Ping Yowargana, researcher at IIASA. “Problems such as education, ease of doing business and corruption are essential for understanding the big picture and for finding solutions that can lead to both poverty reduction and forest preservation. .