Module II Summary

In this module, we identified human population growth as a key driver of forest degradation. The human population is predicted to continue growing for another 20-30 years before stabilizing at around 10 billion people, about 30% higher than the current population. This population growth will continue to put pressure on existing forests and could require more land for food production. Despite these pressures, national governments have also recognized the importance of forests in the provision of ecosystem services, such as clean air and water. Increasing urbanization and rising income per person (GDP) could assist forest restoration as land is freed up, especially where agricultural production is improved. Planning can also avoid competition for land between food production and the restoration of forests by intensifying agriculture on good land. Climate change will have unforeseen impacts on many aspects of human society as well as influencing the growing conditions in many parts of the globe, requiring monitoring and adaptation of restoration activities as conditions change. Solutions will lie in the integration of trees and forests into farming systems to diversify incomes, and help buffer against annual commodity prices and climate fluctuations.