Tree cover on agricultural land in the Asia-Pacific region

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The study provides a geospatial analysis of tree cover on agricultural land within the Asia-Pacific region. It gives statistics at the national and provincial levels for the year 2010, and change since the year 2000, as well as a spatial mapping of tree cover and change. For the Asia-Pacific region, the average percent tree cover on agricultural land was 15% in 2000 and 16.3 % in 2010. In India and China, having the largest areas of agricultural land in the region followed by Indonesia, it was 7.8 and 12.8%, respectively, while in Indonesia it was 43.1%. The regional variation broadly follows climatic zones, with high tree cover in the more humid regions, such as Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and less tree cover in drier areas in South Asia and western China. Tree cover on agricultural land has decreased 1.2–2.2% during one decade (2000–2010) in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Japan and Myanmar. The highest increase in tree cover (3.2–5.7%) was observed in Timor-Leste, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vanuatu, New Zealand and Fiji. In India, China, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Thailand, tree cover increased 1.0–2.4% from 2000 to 2010. More than 44% of the 6.7 million km2 of agricultural land within the region had more than 10% tree cover in 2010, comprising nearly 2.7 million km2. This is a 4.3% larger area than in 2000. Over 24% of agricultural land has greater than 20% tree cover and 16% of the area has more than 30% tree cover. This highlights the important roles of tree cover on agricultural land across the region. The least areas of tree cover were found in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Mongolia, with only 1–8% of agricultural land having greater than 10% tree cover in 2010. The highest proportion of agricultural land with tree cover, of 10–20%, was found in Bangladesh (60%) followed by Sri Lanka (31%) and Vietnam, China, Nepal, Thailand and DPR Korea (24–28%). In New Zealand, 34% of the agricultural area had 20–30% tree cover and 22–27% in Fiji, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and The Philippines. Tree cover greater than 30% was found in more than half of the area of agricultural land in ten countries; Vanuatu, Bhutan, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Japan, Fiji and Timor-Leste. Recognizing the extension of trees on farms and in agricultural landscapes is crucial as environmental and climatic change in the Asia Pacific region is rapidly accelerating. The role of trees for rural livelihoods, sustainability and resilience of agricultural landscapes, and for climate-change mitigation, has brought the need for agroforestry practices and supporting policies and institutions to the forefront of sustainable development. The report shows that efforts during the last decades have had some success but that there is large potential for increasing tree cover within many of the countries of the region.
Authors: Zomer, R.J.; Oborn, I.; Xu, J.
Subjects: tree cover, agriculture, mapping
Publication type: Working Paper, Paper
Year: 20192019

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