DEFORESTATION THEORIES IN CENTRAL AMERICA
COUNTRY AND REGIONAL LEVEL
Below is a list of deforestation theories used to carry out the theoretical validation of empirical findings and of local and non-local perceptions. They were used for demostration purposes.
In a study of deforestation rates and trends in Costa Rica by Sader and Joyce(1988 P. 13) using geographical referenced data from 1940 to 1983 they found a strong relationship between the 1977 overland transportation network and forest clearing. In this case the relevant factor is directly mentioned by the theory and is overland transportation network(T).
Edelman(1994) using data from 1960-1990 argued that the hamburger-deforestation connection driven by external factors as source of deforestation in Costa Rica and Central America is misleading and simplistic, and that internal factors explain the fact that even after the exports of beef decreased significantly, deforestation continued to take place.
In this case, to show whether or not the linked of exports of beef and deforestation is valid, we have to assume that the relevant deforestation factor is the exports of livestock products(ELP).
Segura et al(1997 P. 124) highlights that the expansion of the agricultural frontier and cattle ranching frontier have been historically the main sources of deforestation in Costa Rica.
In this case, to show whether or not this is true according to these data, both the agricultural frontier(AF) and the cattle ranching frontier(CF) are taken as the relevant factors.
Barry et al(1997 P. 190) points out that the seven factors that are restricting forest development and reforestation projects in El Salvador are: the concentration of population and urbanization processes, the patterns of economic development, the framing of economic polices, the imbalance between supply and demand for charcoal, the patterns of land use, territorial concentration in small parcels of land and its relation to poverty, and cultural practices and other restrictions to small scale production system campesinos.
Five factors are relevant to the deforestation theory describe above, the agricultural frontier(AF), the cattle ranching frontier(CF), gross domestic product(GDP), fuelwood and charcoal production(FC), and population levels(PL). Whether or not the empirical data and perceptions at hand supports this theory is to be shown.
De Calix and Sossa(1997 P. 299) point out that the promotion of the agricultural-livestock sector oriented to exports has led to changes in land uses and to the expansion of the agricultural frontier at the national level in Guatemala.
In this case, to show whether or not the export development model holds in Guatemala according to these empirical and perception data, both the export of agricultural products(EAP) and the export of cattle ranching products(ELP) are taken as the relevant factors.
Stonish(1994) highlights that the expansion of exports (agricultural and livestock products) has been the traditional pressures on environmental degradation in Honduras an Central America, but now the exports of non-traditional products such as shrimp and melons are becoming the source of pressures.
Again to show whether or not the export development model holds for Honduras according to these data, both the export of agricultural products(EAP) and the export of cattle ranching products(ELP) are taken as the relevant factors.
Sunderlin and Rodriguez(1996, P. 20) carried out a research in Honduras using data 1952-1993 and looking partially to the relationship between cattle ranching and broadleaf forests and concluded that the special attention that this factor enjoys is justified.
In this case, the relevant factor here is the expansion of the cattle ranching frontier(CF) and the focus of this analysis is to see whether or not the empirical data and perceptions support this theory.
Kaimowitz(1996 P.1) stresses that cattle ranching is the main productive land use in Honduras according to a 1993 Census of Agricultural and Cattle Ranching activities.
To be able to assess whether or not cattle ranching is the main productive land use in Honduras we focused on the role of the expansion of the agricultural frontier(AF).
Suazo et al(1997) highlights that the traditional culture of agricultural and cattle ranching activities continues to be the external factors affecting the most the forest sector in Honduras.
Shion and Ambrogi(1997 P. 168) stress that the deterioration of the resource soil is caused by principally the expansion of the agricultural-cattle ranching sector, and the fast development of road communication network. The deterioration of the resource soil is a deforestation related environmental problem according to the deforestation problem analytical framework used in this thesis, and hence as deforestation increases soil erosion is expected to increase.
Three factors are relevant to the deforestation theory describe above, the agricultural frontier(AF), the cattle ranching frontier(CF), and the construction of roads and railroad tracks(RRT). Whether or not the empirical data and perceptions at hand supports this theory is to be shown.
Shane(1986 P.10) established that the principal factor of deforestation in Latino America is the cattle ranching activity.
In this section, it is shown whether or not this is true for Central America too. To do this, the role of the agricultural frontier(AF) and the role of the cattle ranching frontier(CF) is determined and then compared to see what the data and perceptions
Nations(1992) indicated that patterns of deforestation in Central America follow a three step approach: a) in the first step roads are built; b) in the second step, colonization for agricultural production takes place; and c) in the last step, cattle ranching takes over. He also indicates that among the several causes of deforestation in Central America, cattle ranching is the main cause.
Painter and Durham(1994) indicate that the traditional view of deforestation causality in Central America is that external factors are the driving forces. However, he indicates that internal factors are not passive and are actively interacting heavily with external factors.
Again to show whether or not the traditional export development model holds for Central America according to these
Segura et al(1997 P. 19) points out that some of the structural conditions affecting the forest sector in Central America are the patterns of agricultural export development, the extensive exploitation of crops and grasslands, the expansion of the agricultural frontier, and the absence of plans when building road infrastructure in forest areas.
Kaimowitz and Angelsen(1998 P. 89) indicate that there is broad agreement that the expansion of the crop area and pasture constitute major sources of deforestation and that pasture expansion is specially important in Latin America.
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