Drivers and consequences of tropical forest transitions: options to bypass land degradation?
The early studies of the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins stratified the domain for study into stages of a generic transition pathway that suggested a strongly non-linear trajectory of change. In this scheme, a phase of degradation of aboveground vegetation, based on over-logging or shortening fallow cycles in intensified swiddens can lead to a grass-fire cycle that needs special conditions to allow successful rehabilitation. Many places with current agroforestry and tree mosaics have gone through such a phase. A new review of the global literature on these ‘forest transitions’ by Meyfroidt and Lambin (2011) framed important conclusions.