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The Root of the Problem: Drivers of Deforestation

This report examines economic factors that drive deforestation and forest degradation: soybeans, beef cattle, palm oil, timber and pulp, wood for fuel and small farmers. It investigates the impact of population growth and changing diets, both of which fuel the demand for tropical commodities that causes deforestation.

The report finds that the drivers of deforestation vary significantly between continents: cattle and soy play an important role only in Latin America, for example, while palm oil plantations are found almost exclusively in Indonesia and Malaysia.

It describes examples of successful management of deforestation and other factors behind forest degradation, and concludes by suggesting agricultural and forest management policies that can help promote development without increasing deforestation.

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