Forests could play a major role in the alleviation of poverty in many different parts of the world. However, forests are dynamic, and their rate of change is accelerating as a result of anthropogenic activities. Climate change, for example, will alter the nature of many protection forests in mountainous areas, exposing the inhabitants to increased risk from natural hazards. It will also affect the viability of plantation forests established in drier areas to combat desertification. Many forests are showing increased productivity, although the causes remain unclear. Sea-level change will destabilize coastal forests, particularly mangroves, reducing their effectiveness in coastal protection. Air pollution has already destabilized many forests, and is likely to be an increasing problem in the forests surrounding urban areas in developing countries. Many impacts remain uncertain, and there remains a great need to integrate the biophysical knowledge that currently exists with socioeconomic information associated with the impact on forest-dependent communities.
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Vol. 8 • No. 4