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Timber Plantations

  • By: Kathleen A. Farley & Leah Bremer
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

There are approximately 140 million ha (hectares) of tree plantations worldwide, of which 78% are classified as “productive” and are used primarily for wood and fiber production, while 22% are “protective” and are established primarily for soil and water conservation. The extent of both types of plantations has grown over the past two decades, with productive plantations increasing by approximately 2.2 million ha/yr. (per year) and protective plantations increasing by 380,000 ha/yr. between 1990 and 2005. In both types of plantations, pines are the most commonly planted species. Where tree plantations have been established, they have created both benefits and negative consequences, with the balance varying from one location to another.

Benefits

While tree plantations constitute only 3.5% of the world's forested area, they are approaching 50% ...

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