Forest transition in Vietnam and displacement of deforestation abroad.


In some countries across the globe, tropical forest cover is increasing. The national-scale reforestation of Vietnam since 1992 is assumed to contribute to this recovery. It is achieved, however, by the displacement of forest extraction to other countries on the order of 49 (34-70) M m(3), or approximately 39% of the regrowth of Vietnam's forests from 1987 to 2006. Approximately half of wood imports to Vietnam during this period were illegal. Leakage due to policies restricting forest exploitation and displacement due to growing domestic consumption and exports contributed respectively to an estimated 58% and 42% of total displacement. Exports of wood products from Vietnam also grew rapidly, amounting to 84% of the displacement, which is a remarkable feature of the forest transition in Vietnam. Attribution of the displacement and corresponding forest extraction to Vietnam, the source countries or the final consumers is thus debatable. Sixty-one percent of the regrowth in Vietnam was, thus, not associated with displacement abroad. Policies allocating credits to countries for reducing deforestation and forest degradation should monitor illegal timber trade and take into account the policy-induced leakage of wood extraction to other countries.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Patrick Meyfroidt
Patrick Meyfroidt
Professor of Land Systems and Sustainability Science

My research focuses on how land systems can contribute to sustainability.