Agriculture and Deforestation in the Tropics: A Critical Theoretical and Empirical Review
Ambio, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 9-16, February 2006
Posted: 14 Apr 2006
Despite the important role that tropical forests play in human existence, their depletion, especially in the developing world, continue relentlessly. Agriculture has been cited as the major cause of this depletion. This paper discusses two main theoretical underpinnings for the role of agriculture in tropical deforestation. First, the forest biomass as input in agriculture production, and second, the competition between agriculture and forestry underlined by their relative marginal benefits. These are supported by empirical evidence from selected countries in Africa and South America. The paper suggests a need to find a win-win situation to control the spate of tropical deforestation. This may imply improved technologies in the agriculture sector in the developing world, which would lead both to increased production in the agriculture sector, and would also help control the use of tropical forest as an input in agriculture production.
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