Preprint Concept Paper Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Seeing the Trees in the World’s Forests: An Extension of the Forest Transition Concept

Version 1 : Received: 18 December 2020 / Approved: 21 December 2020 / Online: 21 December 2020 (11:32:35 CET)

How to cite: Bontemps, J.; Hervé, J.; Marty, P. Seeing the Trees in the World’s Forests: An Extension of the Forest Transition Concept. Preprints 2020, 2020120514 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202012.0514.v1). Bontemps, J.; Hervé, J.; Marty, P. Seeing the Trees in the World’s Forests: An Extension of the Forest Transition Concept. Preprints 2020, 2020120514 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202012.0514.v1).

Abstract

The forest transition – or forest-area transition – has been put forward as a land-use concept by A.S. Mather in 1992 (The forest transition. Area 24, 367-379), to describe the historical trend generally observed in the forest area of developed countries, embodied in a V-shaped curve of the forest area over time, and that may serve as a paradigm to understand and anticipate deforestation in the developing world. Well in line with a geographical approach to forests, forest transition has thus been defined as one-dimensional, forest area being the reference state variable. From a forestry perspective, the analysis appears to be reductive, as forests are described by many other state variables than area, including forest growing stock, composition in tree species, or stand structure. Whether the drivers of forest transition (population dynamics, economic modes of production and consciousness, as classified by Mather) also impact these other forest state variables in a general way thus comes forth as a logical issue.From a deductive analysis of forest transition drivers, and from forest trends brought to light in Europe, France, and at other places in the world, we here argue that the forest transition concept can be extended to a multi-dimensional space of forest attributes, characterized by typical ideal dynamics. Cumulative impacts onto forests and irreversible losses in forest biodiversity over a forest transition are hence highlighted. Global change, as a parallel consequence of countries’ developing process, further appears as one additional albeit less coupled dimension of forest transition, as it modifies forest productivity and vitality over time. Since forest ecosystem services and forest profitability primarily depend on such attributes, we argue that the extension of the forest transition concept has significance for land-use change and forest protection issues. A prospect on future changes in the forests of developed countries with the European space as a benchmark is finally proposed that leads to extend the temporal significance of forest transition. Though poorly described, returning forests on abandoned agricultural lands are significant, and deserve greater attention.

Subject Areas

forest transition; land-use change; returning forests; global change; growing stock; stand structure; composition; diversity; forest policy

Comments (0)

We encourage comments and feedback from a broad range of readers. See criteria for comments and our diversity statement.

Leave a public comment
Send a private comment to the author(s)
Views 0
Downloads 0
Comments 0
Metrics 0


×
Alerts
Notify me about updates to this article or when a peer-reviewed version is published.
We use cookies on our website to ensure you get the best experience.
Read more about our cookies here.