A systematic review of the socio-economic impacts of large-scale tree plantations, worldwide
Large-scale tree plantations can provide raw material for industries and support climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration. However, they can have positive and negative ecological and socioeconomic impacts. This paper presents the findings on a systematic review of literature on the socioeconomic impacts of large-scale tree plantations.
Research goals & methods
The authors sought to answer the following questions: firstly, what are the direct and indirect socioeconomic impacts of large-scale tree plantations on local communities; secondly, how do these impacts differ across contexts; and thirdly, what are the patterns and gaps in the existing literature? They conducted a search of databases with pre-selected search terms and identified 20,450 studies of which 92 met their criteria for inclusion within the review. They identified a total of 251 possible impacts across categories like land access, employment, livelihoods, cash income, infrastructure, health, and ecosystem services.
Conclusions & takeaways
The review suggests that most large-scale tree plantations have had negative impacts on access to land and livelihoods and mixed impacts on wage employment. In general, plantations have a negative impact across the nine categories of social impacts that were identified in this study. Positive impacts tend to occur in contexts where land tenure is secure, and stable sources of employment such as in local wood processing industries are created. Most negative impacts occur towards the start of projects, while benefits, if any, are seen later.
A systematic review of the socio-economic impacts of large-scale tree plantations, worldwide. Global Environmental Change. 2018;53:90 - 103. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2018.09.001.