Forest Transition Pathways in Asia – Studies from Nepal, India, Thailand, and Cambodia

Forest Transition Pathways in Asia – Studies from Nepal, India, Thailand, and Cambodia


This study draws on data from Nepal, India, Thailand, and Cambodia to examine trajectories of forest-cover change along gradients of deforestation and reforestation.

Research Goals & Methods

This study seeks to determine the degree to which forest transitions happen and what factors can predict their magnitude by using a multidisciplinary, multi-scalar approach that combines information from remote sensing, field surveys, and aggregate country-level information from Forest Resources Assessment (FAO) data from 1990-2005.

Conclusions & Takeaways

FAO data indicates that Cambodia has the highest levels of forest cover (59%), followed by Thailand (28%), Nepal (25%), and India (23%). The greatest forest loss is occurring in Cambodia (166,000 ha decrease per year), while the data on India shows a trend of increasing forest area nationally. The authors conclude that their approach allows them to find a way to relate patterns at a country scale with drivers at a local scale, to look for differences in pattern and process between the local and national levels, and to find a way to deparate out differences in land use at a higher resolution, from both remote sensing analysis and field-based interview data, enabling a better understanding of drivers of each type of land-cover change.



Southworth J, Nagendra H, Cassidy L. Forest transition pathways in Asia – studies from Nepal, India, Thailand, and Cambodia. Journal of Land Use Science. 2012;7:51–65. doi:10.1080/1747423x.2010.520342.


  • Department of Geography, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
  • Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bangalore, India
  • Center for the Study of Institutions, Populations and Environmental Change, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA
  • Okavango Research Institute, University of Botswana, Maun, Botswana