Hyde, William and Jintao Xu. 2008. “Economic Growth and the Natural Environment: The Example of China and Its Forests since 1978.” EfD Discussion Paper 08.
Forest data from the recent period of rapid growth in China show interesting macroeconomic and population impacts on the forest.
It makes a theoretical argument for separating forests into managed and natural forests, administered by state or private agents. The paper’s regressions suggest that declining rural populations accompany forest recovery and that natural forest is first drawn down as incomes rise, but then recovers when incomes continue to increase above some level. As incomes rises even further, the managed forest grows more rapidly, offsetting any draw on the natural forest, with an aggregate net expansion for managed and natural forests combined. The question arises whether other forests across the globe would show these results if comparable forest data were available.