ABSTRACT

Although opinions differ on the rate of tropical deforestation and on the number of decades of survival remaining for tropical forests (World Bank, 1978; Lanly and Clem­ ent, 1979; Myers, 1980; Persson, 1974; Prin­ gle, 1976; Richards, 1973; Sommer, 1976; Spears, 1979; Zerbe and coauthors, 1980), no one denies the ongoing destruction of the world’s tropical forests. In view of the ex­ tensive deforestation of parts of the tropics and the pessimistic prognosis for the re­ maining tropical forests, it is clear that plan­ tation forestry, including agroforestry, which intermixes tree growing and cropping, must play a rapidly expanding role in the produc­ tion of forest products in most tropical coun­ tries. According to John Spears (1978) of the World Bank, by the year 2000 the devel­ oping world will need a minimum of 20 to 25 million hectares of new plantations just

for fuelwood consumption. Yet, continua­ tion of the current rate of plantation estab­ lishment will produce less than one-tenth of the projected requirement. The firewood crisis affecting the drier tropics like sub-Sa­ haran Africa has been well publicized (e.g., Eckholm, 1975). Less well known is the rapid deforestation of once richly forested coun­ tries such as Thailand, the Philippines, Ma­ laysia, Ivory Coast, and Costa Rica. Depletion of the species-rich lowland dipterocarp for­ ests of peninsular Malaysia has been so rapid, that government foresters estimate Malaysia will be a net importer of timber by 1990.