The tropical climatic domain accounts for almost half of the total forest area worldwide, while having experienced the largest negative net reduction in tree cover between 1992 and 2015, when compared to other biomes (FAO, 2020). These dynamics, together with the associated processes of forest degradation (Edwards et al., 2011; Foley et al., 2007) and landscape fragmentation (Taubert et al., 2018), pose a threat to the ecosystem services and functions provided by tropical forests (Foley et al., 2005; Edwards et al., 2014).
As a result, soil and water quality, biodiversity and carbon stocks are directly affected, together with local livelihoods (Reed et al., 2017). Moreover, tropical deforestation and degradation are also seen as important causes of global greenhouse gas emissions (Seymour and Busch, 2016; Baccini et al., 2017). The drivers of tropical deforestation and degradation are complex and vary between regions, but they are mostly related to land use and anthropogenic pressure, such as expansion of pastures, agro-industrial crops and small-scale forest clearings, selective logging, fire or infrastructure (Curtis et al., 2018; Ferretti-Gallon and Busch, 2014; Seymour and Harris, 2019).
Although these causes are largely known, a better understanding of these drivers across different countries, deforestation contexts and spatial scales is needed. This, together with the development of more accurate tools for the fair and effective monitoring of forest cover and its change across geographical regions and deforestation contexts, are preconditions for designing efficient international policies and coherent land use planning strategies that foster the sustainable use of forest resources in the Tropics (GFOI, 2020).