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Global and Regional Forest Area Projections Using an Updated Environmental Kuznets Curve Model
Forest resources are critical to environmental, economic, and social development. Therefore, understanding how global forest area will evolve in the future is important. This study used an updated Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) model to project total forest area through the year 2100 in 168 countries, using variables including income, rural population density, and the size of the labor force under different world visions of economic and demographic changes represented under the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs).
Statistics, Life Cycle Analysis, and Economics Research
This study updated the estimate of the EKC model of forest area using sets of panel data capturing historical and the most recent socioeconomic trends and use. It then uses the updated model to evaluate how total forest area in 168 countries would develop over the next 100 years under alternative assumption of economic and demographic changes. The econometric analyses showed that aggregate global forest area would increase by 7% in SSP3 (a future with the lowest rate of economic growth) to as much as 36% in SSP5 (a future with the highest rate of economic growth) by 2100 relative to 2015 levels. By evaluating the projected forest area trends globally and across major world regions, under alternative future scenarios of economic and demographic changes, this study gauges the usefulness of the estimated EKC model in providing a plausible projection of forest area that will be needed in future studies and/ or policy simulations employed in global forest sector models.
North Carolina State University
University of Helsinki, Finland