Addressing decades of rain forest destruction, concerned scientists, often in concert with various environmental movements, have amassed an impressive amount of information on deforestation in areas throughout the world. In Tropical Forests, Rudel draws upon hundreds of these studies to develop a broader perspective on the problem of deforestation. Through a meta-analysis, Rudel identifies the forces that have driven forest cover change since 1980 and spells out their implications for efforts to conserve biodiversity and expedite sustainable development in the tropics.
Rudel builds on local studies to offer clear explanations of what has happened in each of the world's tropical forest regions. He assesses global trends while also offering vivid descriptions of the effects of deforestation in specific areas. His work concludes with a chapter that describes policy directions for conserving biodiversity and promoting sustainable development in each region.