DEFORESTATION THEORIES

By Lucio Muñoz

munoz@interchange.ubc.ca or http://www.truesustainability.com

 

The variability of deforestation theories

Deforestation theories vary according to level of scope, methods used, and levels of abstraction. Based on the level of scope, deforestation theories can be classified for example as local, country, regional, and global theories. As the level of complexity increases, higher level theories may or may not be consistent with lower level theories. Depending on the method used, deforestation theories are usually classified as quantitatively based or qualitatively based theories. As the number of cases increase, the use of traditional qualitative methods may be getting increasing limited until they break down and are not longer workable. Hence, qualitative methods work the best under one case or few cases. When the number of cases decrease, traditional quantitative methods also start becoming of limited use and reach a point where they also become unreliable. Hence, quantitative methods work the best when we have a very large number of cases. Using the level of abstraction, deforestation theories can be classified in dichotomy form(strong/weak or significant/insignificant) or trichotomy form(strong/moderate/weak or significant/moderate/ insignificant) or any other more detailed form. As the level of abstraction increases, more complexity is lost, and as the level of abstraction decreases we have a detailed understanding of specific cases.

Country-Region theoretical gaps

When research at the country or regional level is based on detailed approaches, theoretical facts may not be, and usually they can not be, generalized. When country or regional research is based on average values, then average theoretical constructs may not be, and usually they are not, connected to theoretical individualities. The existence of these gaps provides a rational for looking for middle ground research methods aimed at shortening or either closing those gaps.

The need to link deforestation theories

Moreover, the need to look at deforestation practice and deforestation perceptions in a holistic way implies the need to look at deforestation theories in a holistic way too so that we can maintain research consistency. Yet, when qualitative or quantitative deforestation research is carried out, it is done without this consistency requirement in mind; and the result is therefore a compartmentalized or uncoupled theoretical world around the issue of deforestation. This, I believe, is true in and outside Central America as well as in other areas of research. The qualitative comparative approaches introduced in the deforestation data page and in the perception data page aim at providing the basis for developing deforestation theories that are consistent with the match or mismatch in terms of practice and perceptions.

Uncoupled deforestation theories

Therefore, we should not be surprised to see that deforestation theories developed by other researchers in Central America, whether at the country or regional level are neither comparable nor consistent even when using similar quantitative or qualitative methods. This section provides existing deforestation theories according to research published by other qualitative and/or quantitative researchers and done at the country or regional level in Central America. The theories included here have been extracted by me to support the working of qualitative validation approaches introduced in the validation page. They provide either the general or specific findings reported by other researchers. Please, if the publishers of this deforestation related work disagree with the way their findings and theories are simplified here, let me know at munoz@interchange.ubc.ca and I will make the appropriate changes or if you know of other deforestation work in the region, not included here, and you would like to add their findings to this page for their consideration, please let me know too at munoz@interchange.ubc.ca

Some of the existing deforestation theories in Central America are provided below:

See here Deforestation theories per country and region

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