About the project

From capturing carbon, to safeguarding biodiversity and sustaining millions of livelihoods, the immense value of forests is increasingly recognised around the world.

Over the next five years, Dr Johan Oldekop and his team will study the changing nature of forest cover and human development at unprecedented scale and detail. The project will start working in Mexico, Brazil, India, Nepal and possibly expand to other countries.

This analysis will form the basis for a new framework of Sustainable Forest Transitions. This framework will support the design and evaluation of forest- sector interventions, highlighting feasible options for improving forest cover and human development.

Research approach

The team will combine socioeconomic (e.g., national census) and environmental data (e.g., satellite-based forest data) with state-of-the-art statistical methods to answer three questions:

  • What are the effects of reforestation drivers on both forests and rural poverty, and how do these drivers interact?
  • How are reforestation drivers affected by socioeconomic, political, and biophysical contexts, both within and between countries?
  • Which combinations of reforestation drivers and contexts lead to simultaneous positive forest and rural poverty outcomes?

This project was selected by the European Research Council and funded by UK Research and Innovation.