There is no clear-cut causal relationship between international trade, agricultural expansion and tropical deforestation. Academics, policy-makers and the public are all tempted by simplistic solutions to complex problems. In order to establish the true causal factors involved in this critical area of environmental decline, the authors of this study present case studies ranging over three continents. Utilizing statistics, it is shown that the focus of analysis of deforestation must be applied as much to the misguided policies of national and regional authorities as to the forces of trade and globalization. Further, it demonstrates that we must adopt a critical perspective on the historical context of human use of forest areas, looking at issues such as systems of land tenure. The primary aim of the book is to highlight the need to seek solutions in far-reaching institutional and policy reforms adapted to specific socio-economic and ecological contexts, if the problem of tropical deforestation is to be tackled effectively.
Introduction: Social Determinants of Deforestation - A Complex Issue * Principal Questions Guiding the Research * The Case Study Countries * The Extent of Tropical Deforestation and Agricultural Expansion in Developing Countries - Recent Land Use * Tropical Deforestation and Agricultural Expansion in the Case Study Countries - Public Policy-induced Deforestation in Brazil * Deforestation and Agricultural Expansion in Guatemala * China * Malaysia * Linkages with International Trade - Introduction * Brazil * Guatemala * China * Malaysia * Cameroon * Diverse and Changing Linkages * Towards More Sustainable Use of Tropical Agricultural and Forest Resources- Courses and Impacts of Tropical Deforestation in the Case Study Countries * Local-level Constraints and Opportunities * The Crucial Role of National Policies and Institutions * International Reforms * Bibliography * Index