Resource Details

Three Paths to Forest Expansion: A Comparative Historical Analysis

Literature: Books or Book Chapters

Rudel, T.K. 2010, "Three Paths to Forest Expansion: A Comparative Historical Analysis" in Reforesting Landscapes, ed. J. Southworth, Springer Netherlands, pp. 45-57.

Contact Info

Corresponding Author:


  • Departments of Human Ecology and Sociology, Rutgers University, NJ, USA


Reforesting Landscapes

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  • The author describes various forms of reforestation and reasons for that type.
  • Spontaneous regeneration - in wet places can create secondary forest of native pioneers within 15 years. In dry places is greatly slowed and in many cases fires cause an alternate pathway to low, fire-resistant brushland. In this case it is from land abandonment from urbanizing population, dying population, or land exhaustion.
  • Expansion through plantation - communities, corporations, or government agencies plant trees to grow to be forests. Sometimes they are in the form of monocultures with low levels of biodiversity. In other cases biodiversity in older plantations can approach that of secondary forest. In some cases, it reduces the rates of harvest in nearby natural forests. Plantations are more popular in areas where there is scarcity of wood and demand for the wood is high, such as south asia. More labor is involved than in natural regenerations.
  • Agroforests - this type is more common in africa where smallholders plant trees (often fruit bearing) on their lands in addition to other uses.
  • The author evaluates these three methods and the conditions in which they will continue. Finally the author asserts that CDM (or reduced emissions) programs would target mostly agroforests and forest plantations on cleared degraded lands, but not reverse any existing societal trends.

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