Countries are encouraged to identify drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in the development of national strategies and action plans for REDD+. In this letter we provide an assessment of proximate drivers of deforestation and forest degradation by synthesizing empirical data reported by countries as part of their REDD+ readiness activities, CIFOR country profiles, UNFCCC national communications and scientific literature. Based on deforestation rate and remaining forest cover 100 (sub) tropical non-Annex I countries were grouped into four forest transition phases. Driver data of 46 countries were summarized for each phase and by continent, and were used as a proxy to estimate drivers for the countries with missing data. The deforestation drivers are similar in Africa and Asia, while degradation drivers are more similar in Latin America and Asia. Commercial agriculture is the most important driver of deforestation, followed by subsistence agriculture. Timber extraction and logging drives most of the degradation, followed by fuelwood collection and charcoal production, uncontrolled fire and livestock grazing. The results reflect the most up to date and comprehensive overview of current national-level data availability on drivers, which is expected to improve over time within the frame of the UNFCCC REDD+ process.
Hosonuma, N., Herold, M., de Sy, V., De Fries, R. S., Brockhaus, M., Verchot, L., Angelsen, A., & Romijn, E. (2012). An assessment of deforestation and forest degradation drivers in developing countries. Environmental Research Letters, 7(4), . https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/7/4/044009