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Addressing decades of rain forest destruction, concerned scientists, often in concert with various environmental movements, have amassed an impressive amount of information on deforestation in areas throughout the world. In Tropical Forests, Thomas K. Rudel analyzes hundreds of local studies from the past twenty years to develop a much-needed global perspective on deforestation. With separate chapters on individual regions, including South and Central America, the Caribbean, and Africa, Rudel's work offers an up-to-date assessment of changes in the extent of the world's tropical forests. Through a meta-analysis, Rudel identifies the social, economic, and environmental forces driving forest cover change since 1980.
In addition to synthesizing a range of local studies, Rudel recounts the stories of people whose work preserves, destroys, or restores forests. Rudel's explanation of what has happened in each of the world's tropical forest regions reveals continued destruction in regions with large forests and some regeneration emerging in places with small, remnant forests. In the concluding chapter, Rudel considers the implications of these trends and describes policy directions for conserving biodiversity and promoting sustainable development in each region.