MSc thesis subject: Spatial analysis of causes of deforestation

Forest play an important role in the new Paris climate agreement, mainly through REDD+ in tropical developing countries: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

An important aspect of REDD+ policy design and implementation is an analysis of the drivers of forest loss. Knowledge of the direct (land use change) and indirect (market prices, demography etc.) is necessary to design appropriate forest policies and monitor the impact of these policies.

In ongoing research at Wageningen University, direct drivers were assessed via a sample-based approach and visual interpretation of land use following deforestation (De Sy et al, 2015). This spatial information on direct drivers can be used to assess the link between direct and indirect causes (distance to roads, markets; population density, political and economic factors).

This research would focus on the pantropical region.


  • Asses the (spatial) relationship between direct and indirect drivers of tropical deforestation
  • Identify the most influential indirect drivers of tropical deforestation



  • Preference for students who are willing and able to work with R

Theme(s): Modelling & visualisation, Integrated Land Monitoring