The physical, economic and policy drivers of land conversion to forestry in Ireland
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CitationUpton, V., O'Donoghue, C., & Ryan, M. 2014. The physical, economic and policy drivers of land conversion to forestry in Ireland. Journal of Environmental Management, 132: 79-86.DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2013.10.017
AbstractLand use change is fundamentally a product of the interaction of physical land characteristics, economic considerations and agricultural and environmental policies. Researchers are increasingly combining physical and socio-economic spatial data to investigate the drivers of land-use change in relation to policy and economic developments. Focusing on Ireland, this study develops a panel data set of annual afforestation over 2811 small-area boundaries between 1993 and 2007 from vector and raster data sources. Soil type and other physical characteristics are combined with the net returns of converting agricultural land to forestry, based on the micro-simulation of individual farm incomes, to investigate land conversion. A spatial econometric approach is adopted to model the data and a range of physical, economic and policy factors are identified as having a significant effect on afforestation rates. In addition to the financial returns, the availability and quality of land and the implementation of environmental protection policies are identified as important factors in land conversion. The implications of these factors for the goal of forest expansion are discussed in relation to conflicting current and future land use policies.
FunderDepartment of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland