Ecosystem Services from Tropical Forests: Review of Current Science

86 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2015

Date Written: October 7, 2014


Tropical forests exert a more profound influence on weather patterns, freshwater, natural disasters, biodiversity, food, and human health – both in the countries where forests are found and in distant countries – than any other terrestrial biome. This report explains the variety of environmental services tropical forests provide and the science underlying how forests provide these services. Tropical deforestation and degradation have reduced the area covered by tropical forests from 12 percent to less than 5 percent of Earth’s land area. Forest loss and degradation has reduced or halted the flows of a wide range of ecosystem goods and services, increasing the vulnerability of potentially billions of people to a variety of damaging impacts. Established and emerging science findings suggest that we have substantially underestimated the global importance of tropical forests and the impacts of their loss on human well-being.

Keywords: Climate change, Ecosystem services, Energy, Food, Forests, Health, REDD , Valuation, Water

JEL Classification: Q23, Q51, Q54

Suggested Citation

Brandon, Katrina, Ecosystem Services from Tropical Forests: Review of Current Science (October 7, 2014). Center for Global Development Working Paper No. 380, Available at SSRN: or

Katrina Brandon (Contact Author)

University of Maryland

Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology
College Park, MD 20742
United States

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