Deforestation in the Himalayas: myths and reality

Deforestation in developing and middle income countries is an urgent global problem, affecting climate change, soil erosion, major river basins, and livelihoods of poor households living near the forests. Public discussions of the problem are frequently dominated by widely held beliefs concerning the extent of deforestation (that it is large and growing over time), and its impacts on local livelihoods (that these are adverse and large). Views concerning determinants of deforestation include economic growth, local poverty, and inequality, all of which are generally believed to accelerate the process. Of possible remedies, the most widely discussed one involves property rights over forests: that local communities should be granted ownership and management autonomy in order to arrest deforestation.

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