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The System Dynamics of Forest Cover in the Developing World: Researcher Versus Community Perspectives

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  • Laura Schmitt Olabisi

    () (Environmental Science and Policy Program, Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation, and Resource Studies (CARRS), Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA)

Abstract

Efforts to increase forest cover in the developing world will only succeed if the root causes of deforestation are addressed. Researchers designing reforestation initiatives tend to emphasize macro-level drivers of deforestation, about which they have extensive data and knowledge. On the other hand, local people have contextually based knowledge of forest cover dynamics in their region—about which external researchers may be largely ignorant. This type of perception gap between researchers and community members has led to many failed or insufficiently implemented projects. An emerging tool—group model-building with system dynamics—shows promise in its ability to integrate different perspectives on a complex problem such as forest cover loss. In this study, I use system dynamics modeling methodology to compare causal loop diagrams of forest cover dynamics on Negros Island, Philippines generated by researchers working for the World Wildlife Fund with causal loop diagrams generated by community members in upland Negros. The diagrams were significantly different, with very few variables in common, but both illuminate critical aspects of the deforestation problem on the island. I conclude that reforestation initiatives in the Philippines would benefit from incorporating all relevant information into a single, coherent model.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Schmitt Olabisi, 2010. "The System Dynamics of Forest Cover in the Developing World: Researcher Versus Community Perspectives," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(6), pages 1-13, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:2:y:2010:i:6:p:1523-1535:d:8528
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:srbeha:v:34:y:2017:i:6:p:699-709 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Lie, Helene & Rich, Karl M., 2016. "Improving Value Chains for Dairy Farmers in Matiguás, Nicaragua: a System Dynamics Approach," 2016 International European Forum, February 15-19, 2016, Innsbruck-Igls, Austria 244479, International European Forum on System Dynamics and Innovation in Food Networks.
    3. Ana María González & Harrison Sandoval & Pilar Acosta & Felipe Henao, 2016. "On the Acceptance and Sustainability of Renewable Energy Projects—A Systems Thinking Perspective," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(11), pages 1-21, November.
    4. repec:spr:endesu:v:20:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10668-016-9887-3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    deforestation; development; group model-building; reforestation; Philippines;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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