MSc thesis topics: Assess the different types and trends of deforestation, across and within deforestation fronts (e.g. Amazon, Mekong, Central Africa or Indonesia), using global spatial datasets

Deforestation and forest degradation continue to be critical topics in the global environmental, biodiversity conservation and climate change agendas. In spite of many commitments, forest continue to be degraded and lost at an alarming rate.

In the last few years, there were contradictory trends of a slowdown of deforestation rates in some fronts but an increase in others, with possibly some leakage effects. Understanding the factors explaining the different trends (slowdown, stabilisation, expansion) of deforestation is critical to inform debates on the effectiveness of current interventions. New global datasets on forest and land use change can help with identifying the different trajectories of deforestation as well as the direct drivers of deforestation (e.g. agriculture expansion).


  • Identify tropical deforestation fronts
  • Assess type and changes in rates of forest loss and gain within these fronts
  • Determine the main proximate drivers (i.e. land use change) of deforestation
  • Analyse the different trajectories of deforestation, within and across fronts


  • De Sy, V., Herold, M., Achard, F., Beuchle, R., Clevers, J.G.P.W., Lindquist, E. and Verchot, L., 2015. Land use patterns and related carbon losses following deforestation in South America. Environmental Research Letters, 10(12), p.124004.
  • Hansen, M.C., Potapov, P.V., Moore, R., Hancher, M., Turubanova, S.A.A., Tyukavina, A., Thau, D., Stehman, S.V., Goetz, S.J., Loveland, T.R. and Kommareddy, A., 2013. High-resolution global maps of 21st-century forest cover change. science, 342(6160), pp.850-853.
  • Austin, K.G., Gonz├ílez-Roglich, M., Schaffer-Smith, D., Schwantes, A.M. and Swenson, J.J., 2017. Trends in size of tropical deforestation events signal increasing dominance of industrial-scale drivers. Environmental Research Letters, 12(5), p.054009.
  • Turubanova, S., Potapov, P.V., Tyukavina, A. and Hansen, M.C., 2018. Ongoing primary forest loss in Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Indonesia. Environmental Research Letters, 13(7), p.074028.

Theme(s): Integrated Land Monitoring