Forest Transition and Changes in the Socio-Economic Structure of a Developed Country: A Long-Term Analysis


The present study analyses historical trends (1861-2011) in the socio-economic structure in Italy using 12 statistical indicators and their latent relationships with the long-term forest expansion with the aim to assess how changes in the socio-economic context have influenced Forest Transition (FT) at the country scale. Indicators include 3 population and human settlement variables, 3 demographic variables describing population structure, 3 socio-economic variables describing changes in the economic structure and the productive base and 3 environmental variables illustrating changes in forest land cover and protected areas. By developing an exploratory data analysis framework, the study identifies in the time window encompassing 1936-1951 the most probable turning point in the forest-socioeconomic system in Italy indicating also two groups of indicators according to the diverging (linear vs non linear) time trends. The paper also provides an empirical understanding of political, economic, and social forces driving FT at the national level.

Share and Cite:

Moretti, V. , Ferrara, A. , Colantoni, A. , Carlucci, M. and Salvati, L. (2014) Forest Transition and Changes in the Socio-Economic Structure of a Developed Country: A Long-Term Analysis. Modern Economy, 5, 932-938. doi: 10.4236/me.2014.59086.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Mather, A.S. (1990) Global Forest Resources. The Royal Geographical Society, Bellhaven Press, London, 351 pp.
[2] Mather, A.S. (1992) The Forest Transition. Area, 24, 367-379.
[3] Mather, A.S., Needle, C. and Coull, J. (1998) From Resource Crisis to Sustainability: The Forest Transition in Denmark. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 5, 183-192.
[4] Redo, D.J., Graub, H.R., Aidea, T.M. and Clark, M.L. (2012) Asymmetric Forest Transition Driven by the Interaction of Socio-Economic Development and Environmental Heterogeneity in Central America. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109, 8839-8844.
[5] Mather, A.S. (2004) Forest Transition Theory and the Reforesting of Scotland. Scottish Geographical Journal, 120, 83-98.
[6] Mather, A.S. (2007) Recent Asian Forest Transitions in Relation to Forest-Transition Theory. International Forestry Review, 9, 491-502.
[7] Gutiérrez Rodríguez, L. and Ruiz Pérez, M. (2013) Recent Changes in Chinese Forestry Seen through the Lens of Forest Transition Theory. International Forestry Review, 15, 456-470.
[8] de Jong, W. (2009) Forest Rehabilitation and Its Implication for Forest Transition Theory. Biotropica, 42, 3-9.
[9] Barbier, E.B., Burgess, J.C. and Grainger, A. (2009) The Forest Transition: Towards a More Comprehensive Theoretical Framework. Land Use Policy, 27, 98-107.
[10] Pagnutti, C., Bauch, C.T. and Anand, M. (2013) Outlook on a Worldwide Forest Transition. PLoS ONE, 8, e75890.
[11] He, J., Lang, R. and Xu, J. (2014) Local Dynamics Driving Forest Transition: Insights from Upland Villages in Southwest China. Forests, 5, 214-233.
[12] Ferrara, A., Salvati, L., Sabbi, A. and Colantoni, A. (2014) Soil Resources, Land Cover Changes and Rural Areas: Towards a Spatial Mismatch? Science of the Total Environment, 478, 116-122.
[13] Salvati, L., De Angelis, A., Bajocco, S., Ferrara, A. and Barone, P.M. (2013) Desertification Risk, Long-Term Land-Use Changes and Environmental Resilience: A Case Study in Basilicata, Italy. Scottish Geographical Journal, 129, 85-99.
[14] Salvati, L., Tombolini, I., Perini, L. and Ferrara, A. (2013) Landscape Changes and Environmental Quality: The Evolution of Land Vulnerability and Potential Resilience to Degradation in Italy. Regional Environmental Change, 13, 1223-1233.
[15] Bajocco, S., De Angelis, A., Perini, L., Ferrara, A. and Salvati, L. (2012) The Impact of Land Use/Land Cover Changes on Land Degradation Dynamics: A Mediterranean Case Study. Environmental Management, 49, 980-989.
[16] Mancino, G., Nolè, A., Ripullone, F. and Ferrara, A. (2014) Landsat TM Imagery and NDVI Differencing for Vegetation Change Detection: Assessing Natural Expansion of Forests in Basilicata, Southern Italy. iForest, 7, 75-84.
[17] Yackulic, C.B., Fagan, M., Jain, M., Jina, A., Lim, Y., Marlier, M., Muscarella, R., Adame, P., DeFries, R. and Uriarte, M. (2011) Biophysical and Socio-Economic Factors Associated with Forest Transitions at Multiple Spatial and Temporal Scales. Ecology and Society, 16, 1-22.
[18] DeFries, R.S. and Pandey, D. (2010) Urbanization, the Energy Ladder and Forest Transitions in India’s Emerging Economy. Land Use Policy, 27, 130-138.
[19] Rudel, T.K. (2009) Tree Farms: Driving Forces and Regional Patterns in the Global Expansion of Forest Plantations. Land Use Policy, 26, 545-550.
[20] Meyfroidt, P. and Lambin, E.F. (2008) The Causes of the Reforestation in Vietnam. Land Use Policy, 25, 182-197.
[21] Klooster, D. (2003) Forest Transitions in Mexico: Institutions and Forests in a Globalized Countryside. Prof Geogr, 55, 227-237.
[22] Hecht, S.B., Kandel, S., Gomes, I., Cuellar, N. and Rosa, H. (2006) Globalization, Forest Resurgence, and Environmental Politics in El Salvador. World Development, 34, 308-323.
[23] Bray, D.B. and Klepeis, P. (2005) Deforestation, Forest Transitions, and Institutions for Sustainability in Southeastern Mexico, 1900-2000. Environment and History, 11, 195-223.
[24] Rudel, T.K., Bates, D. and Machinguiashi, R. (2002) A Tropical Forest Transition? Agricultural Change, Out-Migration, and Secondary Forests in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 92, 87-102.
[25] Meyfroidt, P. and Lambin, E.F. (2011) Global Forest Transition: Prospects for an End to Deforestation. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 36, 343-371.
[26] Hansen, M.C., Potapov, P.V., Moore, R., Hancher, M., Turubanova, S.A., Tyukavina, A., Thau, D., Stehman, S.V., Goetz, S.J., Loveland, T.R., Kommareddy, A., Egorov, A., Chini, L., Justice, C.O. and Townshend, J.R.G. (2013) High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change. Science, 342, 850-853.

Copyright © 2021 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.