Rural forest communities at a tipping point? Trends and actionable research opportunities
Our proposed Pursuit project focuses on ecological wealth and changing human populations in rural forest communities in developed countries. This Pursuit project begins with an over-arching research theme of addressing the extent to which these lands and their associated services stand poised at tipping points. In turn, as we collectively pursue research questions related to this over-arching theme, we will pose and respond to these questions with actionable research goals in mind. Overall, we believe diverse ecological and social changes are coming to many rural, forested regions. Lastly, we are encouraged by opportunities for learning across regions and transferring insights more broadly to help communities manage such change. We will assemble a diverse group of researchers with forest-change expertise to perform quantitative, data-driven comparative and case-based studies of land-use/land-cover and demographic change, explore the implications for ecological wealth, and build scenario-based predictions for assessing the implications of various forms of change on ecosystem services and access to these services. Our proposed team includes participants from environmental and social sciences and diverse home institutions. Collectively, team members have extensive experience studying land-use/land-cover change at multiple scales and in numerous regions.