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Today’s podcast is with Mr. David Landholm, a PhD student at Humboldt University and a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. His work focuses on understanding local, regional and global causes of deforestation.

I talk to David about how he got into the topic of deforestation. He explains the type of data he uses depending on the scale of the research. He explains how conflicts and trade impact deforestation as well as how policy can encourage or discourage it. Lastly, we discuss where he believes the future of this type of research is heading.

Podcast Outline

1.      Introduction section: background and methods

a.      What first drew you studying deforestation? (0:43)

b.      What were the main goals of your research? (1:32)

c.      Do you have a favorite scale to study? (1:41)

d.      How do you typically conduct your analysis? (2:07)

e.      In terms of datasets, what types of data do you use? (2:32)

f.       Is it more quantitative or qualitative data? (3:16)

g.      Why do you think understanding deforestation is important when it comes to climate change (3:50)

2.      Details: what was found

a.      So you examined what subsistence and smallholder livestock farms in Colombia can do to reduce their GHG emissions. What did you find to be the best at reducing GHG emissions? (4:29)

b.      How do you get denser grass? (5:39)

c.      So is it just different types of animals? (6:27)

d.      Did you study single family farms or larger commercial farms? (6:38)

e.      Farming intensification is a common suggestion for reducing deforestation. However, you suggest that farming intensification so as to prevent the need for farms to expand into forested areas is unlikely to work in Colombia. Can you explain why? (7:00)

f.       You also examined how armed conflict in Colombia affected deforestation. So, what is the relationship between armed conflict and deforestation? (9:00)

g.      In your article “Diverging forest land use dynamics induced by armed conflict across the tropics” you say that armed conflict has the potential to be both positive and negative for the environment in terms of deforestation and reforestation. How does that work? (10:35)

h.      In general are armed conflicts good or bad for forests? (11:03)

i.       If I understood correctly, your analysis also said the conflict in Colombia was worse than the armed conflict you analyzed in the tropics. Why would that be? (11:26)

j.       Do you know why that would be? (12:25)

k.      When I think of deforestation I usually think of market pressures. In your article “Cross-Country Analysis of Commodity-Driven Tropical Deforestation” you dive into that topic. What is the relationship between the international markets and deforestation? (12:50)

l.       In your article you mention that different regions are affected by the prices of different commodities- but that Asia in is the most strongly influenced by commodity prices. Why would that be? (14:19)

m.    In your article you use the example of Cocoa-driven deforestation in the Ivory Coast and you say that deforestation is linked to low cocoa prices. That is sort of counter-intuitive. Why does that happen? (15:16)

n.      Which is worse- deforestation due to armed conflict or deforestation due to market pressure? (16:53)

o.     Which one do you think would be easier to solve? (17:22)

3.      The Future

a.      Where do you see the future of this type of research going? (17:35)


Links to David’s articles will be posted once the articles have been published

The music is by bradleyparsons