Three Paths to Forest Expansion: A Comparative Historical Analysis

Three Paths to Forest Expansion: A Comparative Historical Analysis


This chapter describes various forms of reforestation and why those should be chosen. The author evaluates  three reforestation methods and the conditions in which they will continue.

Conclusions & Takeaways

Spontaneous regeneration occurs in wet places and can create secondary forests of native pioneers within 15 years. In dry places, this process is greatly slowed and in many cases fires cause an alternate pathway to low, fire-resistant brushland.  Expansion through plantations are sometimes 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 are more common in Africa where smallholders plant trees on their lands in addition to other uses. The authors assert that CDM (or reduced emissions) programs would target mostly agroforests and forest plantations on cleared degraded lands, but not reverse any existing societal trends.




RUDEL THOMASK. Three Paths to Forest Expansion: A Comparative Historical Analysis. In: Landscape Series. Landscape Series. Springer Netherlands; 2009:45–57. doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-9656-3_3.


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