By Lucio Muñoz
Goals of this page
The Deforestation in Central America Page has three short-term goals: to provide information relevant to deforestation; to introduce my view on how this information can be handled by simple non-traditional means of research; and to provide a venue for positive discourse on deforestation issues.
Nature of this page
The Deforestation in Central America Page aims at achieving simplicity in the presentation of methodological ideas and at achieving methodological flexibility so that in the long-term it is possible to support monitoring and validation processes relevant to countries and regions in an ongoing basis.
The Theoretical Focus of this page
The Deforestation in Central America Page is based on the theoretical premise that the true nature of knowledge about deforestation causality can only be determined at the point where deforestation theory, deforestation practice and deforestation perceptions are found in conjunctural interactions. In other words, theory, practice, and perceptions must be matched at the same time in order to gain a true insight into deforestation issues.
The Empirical Focus of this page
The Deforestation in Central America Page aims in practice at maximizing comparability within different deforestation components or issues and between deforestation components or issues. To achieve this, 12 information components commonly associated with deforestation processes in Central America are purposively selected to form the empirical basis of this page. These information components are: forest resource information; agricultural land use information; cattle ranching land use information; income information; road infrastructure information; agricultural trade information; cattle ranching trade information; external debt information; roundwood production and consumption information; industrial roundwood production and consumption information; fuelwood and charcoal production and consumption information; and population information.
This section provides the data collected by country, and region, and points out their sources. No claim is made here that the best data available are provided. The only claim made here is that if these data are not the best data available, they could be used to support or to calibrate the findings of those holding better data or that if these are the best data available anyway, we can extract meaningful insights to either validate or invalidate existing deforestation views and options or to identify new ones. These data expand from 1970 to 1996, and it will be updated to the present if the resources needed to do that become available. Currently, data on five countries are included as these were the ones included in my orginal research to avoid as much as possible comparability issues: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. But if resources become available in the future, time will be dedicated to include data from Belize and Panama. This section also explains how these deforestation data can be handled through qualitative comparative means that permits us to gain an understanding of local deforestation conditions and options in such a way that it is consistent with regional conditions, and vis a verse.
This section provides perception data collected 1996-1997 by country, and region, and describes how it was collected. No claim is made here that these perceptions are the best data available, but it can be claimed that these perceptions have been independently gathered from a wide variety of sources to include as much variability as possible. The other claim made here is that perceptions, which are usually left out of the equation theory-practice are very important factors in explaining the theory-practice gaps that prevail when you have for example the best theory and the best practice, but still they do not match or to understand the role of practice when you have theory-perception gaps or to understand the role of theory when you have practice-perception gaps. Hence, perceptions can be very important explanatory and policy tools. Perceptions from the seven countries in Central America are provided as it was feasible to collect perceptions from Belize and Panama at the same time.
This section also explains how these perception data can be handled through qualitative comparative means that permits us to gain an understanding of local and regional deforestation perceptions and their linkages and lack of linkages in a very consistent and holistic fashion. Finally, the same 1996-1997 questionnaire was passed in Central America in the year 2000 to update deforestation perceptions, to determine changes in deforestation perceptions and to monitor perception processes to the year 2000.
Work published by others has been used to determine deforestation theories relevant at each country level and at the regional level. These theories highlight the deforestation causality that is relevant according to other research methods. Finally, these theories are very important for validation purposes or for theory reformulation purposes or for the creation of new theories.
Traditionally, it is believed that only quantitative approaches are subjected to clear validation processes. This section shows that this may not be the case when using the qualitative based validation procedures introduced here. These validation procedures are of several types: those based on matching practice and perceptions only; those based on matching practice and theories only; those based on matching perceptions and theories only; and those matching practice, perception, and theories at the same time. All these procedures are described in detail here and examples of how they can be applied are given.
My View on Deforestation Issues
This section will be focused on presenting my qualitative comparative view on deforestation issues and aim at providing new ideas presented in my thesis, which may prove a little bit unusual and controversial at the beginning as they fall within the domain of non-traditional, but scientifically sound research approaches, and which may have some relevance at a future date when these methods are better understood. I believe it is our responsibility to raise controversial issues so that we can continue our development journey in the less degrading and most cost-effective fashion possible. I believe that we all agree that without independent views we run the risk of running into total system failures.
This section will list the comments or critic points, positive or negative shared by the readers of these pages. Critical discourse should be encouraged, not discouraged so I invited you all to let me know your points of view on any of the methods, issues, approaches, or views presented here. I will strive to reply to you to the best of my abilities, but remember, just criticizing is not enough, a critique to be effective must be accompanied by an alternative view or paradigm in a defensible fashion. Please, send your views to Lucio Muñoz at email@example.com
This section will provide the bibliography used in my research, list academic work done by me so far, list deforestation and forestry work done by others in the region, list local and international sources of deforestation information, and provide links to on line academic work relevant to Central America. This is expected to be, through time, the most complete bibliography on deforestation issues in Central America. All those who know or have references not listed here, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will use little by little this bibliography as a testing map for all the theories and views produced by the qualitative comparative methods and approaches introduced here.
No intentions exist here to take the ideas of other researchers or to distort the academic positions of other researchers or to use the information gathered for inappropriate purposes. If some or part of the information provided in this page is seen as belonging to somebody else or as distorting somebody else statements or seen to be used inappropriately, please contact Lucio Muñoz at email@example.com and the corrections that are necessary will be made as soon as possible.
The ideas and mistakes provided in this page are solely the responsibility of Lucio Munoz and I will put my integrity upfront to ensure that the content of this page is based on high ethical values, and if inadvertedly I make mistakes which it is possible since I am just another human too, please help me to correct them. To do this, your feedback will be very much appreciated at firstname.lastname@example.org More information about Lucio Muñoz can be found in my TRUE SUSTAINABILITY PAGE at http://www.truesustainability.com
CopyRights All the qualitative comparative ideas related to the organization
and handling of deforestation data and perceptions and the qualitative
validation procedures introduced are to my knowledge the only ones of their
nature available or in existence today and they can be used freely for
educational and empirical purposes by all those who can appreciate their
potential use. Also the method of combining rapid assessment techniques and
qualitative comparative analysis is too to my knowledge the only existing
formal attempt to balance quantitative/qualitative deforestation discourse
through these means, and this method can also be used freely by those who can
appreciate its potential applications, both in theory and in practice. Please,
make a citation to Lucio Muñoz when using material from the webpages under Deforestation in
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