Kelly Cobourn – Hybrid event – Forest transitions and ecosystem collapse: an analysis of the role of substitutability between primary and secondary forests

Across the developing world, deforestation of native primary forests supports economic activity at the cost of environmental degradation with long-term global consequences. Events such as record forest fires in the Amazon highlight the potential for deforestation to drive ecosystems past potentially irreversible tipping points, such as a shift from rainforest to grassy savannah. Investments in reforestation with secondary forests are a potential tool to avoid or delay tipping points, but the success of this strategy depends on the degree to which secondary and primary forests are substitutes in the production of ecosystem services.

We develop a dynamic optimisation model and simulation to explore how deforestation, reforestation and the degree of substitutability between forest types affect the probability of a forest system crossing a tipping point. We show that if the ecosystem services provided by secondary forests do not compensate for losses due to deforestation, a collapse may occur despite ongoing investments in plantation, especially if land tenure security costs are high. Conversely, our results suggest that secondary forest management practices and species selection that increase the substitutability of secondary forests for primary forests can play an important role in avoiding or slowing down costly ecosystem change.

Friday Lunch Meeting will take place exceptionally from 12.00 pm – 1.30 pm

The presentation will be in english.

You can attend it at the Palais Brongniart or via the Zoom tool.

To participate, we invite you to register here

1. If you have selected the “online” mode, the link will be sent to you once your registration completed.

2. If you wish to participate in our face-to-face event, here is our address: Palais Brongniart, 28 Place de la Bourse – 75 002 Paris FLM- Seminar Room – 4th floor


Friday Lunch Meeting