Nearly 2 billion people live within 5 kilometers (3 miles) of a forest, and many rely on forests directly as a source of livelihood. But forests also play a critical role in reaching larger global sustainability goals. As that role becomes clear, so too does the importance of understanding the impacts of global trends on forests and the people who depend on them. A newly published study in the journal Nature Plants identifies five large-scale trends that may substantially affect forests in the future in both negative and positive ways. “Global interest in forests as a means to address sustainability challenges is rapidly increasing. The five trends that we identify are poorly understood and are likely to have major consequences for forests and forest livelihoods over the coming decade,” Johan Oldekop, an associate professor at the University of Manchester and lead author of the report, told Mongabay in an email. Much of the research connecting forests and livelihoods has been done on the household and community level, the authors say. But the goal of this study was to address the forest and human link at an intercontinental scale, recognizing connections across space and over time in an increasingly globalized world. For example, European and North American demand for commodities such as palm oil drives environmental degradation in the tropical forests of Indonesia. Agricultural fires in Indonesia affect the health of people across Southeast Asia. To identify these large-scale trends, a group of international researchers and experts in forests and rural…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer