We analyze how governance may influence competing land uses for forests, and thus the occurrence of forest transitions, across different low and middle-income countries. We develop a model of competing land uses that allows for governance to impact the risk of future versus current agricultural and forested land allocations. The resulting hypothesis on the relationship between governance and the likelihood of a forest transition is then tested using cross-country data. The empirical analysis offers strong support for the competing land use framework, and indicates that rule of law, forest policy and regulatory quality influence forest transitions. These findings inform not only the ongoing debate on forest transitions but also policy options for managing such transitions in developing economies.
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