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The Economics of Deforestation in the Amazon
Dispelling the Myths
This provocative new book presents the results of twenty years of research on deforestation in the Amazon. By carefully observing the changing character of human settlements and their association with deforestation over such a prolonged period, the author is able to reject much of the 'perceived wisdom'. He skillfully dissects various models of deforestation and provides hard evidence on what is myth and what is reality. The book begins by challenging a hypothesis used by many scholars to explain deforestation. The 'turnover hypothesis' states that small farmers 'cause' deforestation by moving rapidly across newly forested land in an effort to make a living. Dr. Campari argues that in reality the process is far more complex. He reveals that it is actually the larger farms who are the main culprits of deforestation and that, in comparison, the impact of small farmers is marginal. He also challenges the belief that current deforestation, as in the past, is the result of distortionary government policies. The author proves that deforestation continues today because existing policies are based on outdated assumptions of regional development.
He goes on to discuss the policy implications of his important findings and identify possibilities for controlling deforestation in the future. This is one of the few studies that accurately documents the process of deforestation in the Amazon. Researchers, academics and policymakers with an interest in environmental policy and natural resource management will appreciate the new and updated information and fresh policy ideas found in this volume.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'Although the book is written by an economist, it can be easily read by anybody interested in Amazon deforestation. It provides a refreshing new perspective on a topic that is very emotionally charged and often burdened by lack of knowledge about what is really going on. This book merges theory, data and on-site experience in a compelling way, convincing the reader that the author really knows his topic.' -- Lykke E. Andersen, Environmental Sciences 'The "Turnover Hypothesis" maintains that deforestation in Brazil is due primarily to small farmers who cut, farm, deplete the soil, and move on to cut again. However, this thorough analysis by Joao Campari marshals twenty years of data to show that deforestation now is due primarily to consolidated farms of the interior rather than small farms on the frontier. The book combines economic theory, empirical tests, and multidisciplinary approaches, all of which should prove extremely useful for policymakers who must know the true causes of deforestation in order to design policies to control it.' -- Don Fullerton, University of Texas, Austin, US 'This is an important book. It is a much-needed volume that promises partly to set the record straight on the deforestation processes at work in the Amazon, but which will also cause some controversy because of the "corrective" nature of many of the findings. It has been meticulously researched and is extremely well written.' -- David Pearce, University College London, UK