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Livestock, deforestation, and policy making: intensification of cattle production systems in Central America revisited

by Nicholson, C.F; Blake, R.W; Lee, D.R.
Publisher: Mar 1995Subject(s): PRODUCCION ANIMAL | EXPLOTACIONES AGRARIAS | DEFORESTACION | UTILIZACION DE LA TIERRA | INTENSIFICACION | SISTEMAS DE PRODUCCION | EXPLOTACION AGRICOLA INTENSIVA | POLITICA DE PRECIOS | DEGRADACION AMBIENTAL | AMERICA CENTRAL | ANIMAL PRODUCTION | FARMS | DEFORESTATION | LAND USE | INTENSIFICATION | INTENSIVE FARMING | PRICE POLICIES | ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION | CENTRAL AMERICA | PRODUCTION ANIMALE | EXPLOITATION AGRICOLE | DEBOISEMENT | UTILISATION DES TERRES | INTENSIFICATION | AGRICULTURE INTENSIVE | POLITIQUE DES PRIX | DEGRADATION DE L'ENVIRONNEMENT | AMERIQUE CENTRALE In: Journal of Dairy Science (EUA) v. 78(3) p. 719-734Summary: Objectives were to analyze arguments that extensive cattle production causes deforestation in Central America and to evaluate trade-offs among policy objectives implied by intensification of cattle production. Intensification of cattle systems is unlikely to alter dramatically the deforestation rates in Central America because consumer demand for livestock products is not the principal factor motivating most migration to forest areas. Rather, many migrants are from resources-poor households and are seeking survival at the forest margin. Policies to slow deforestation need to improve economic opportunities for the rural poor and to promote sustainable agricultural land use through technologies that farmers will adopt. Policies to promote intensification need to recognize the role of existing extensive cattle systems, the technical limitations and opportunities that are associated with different types of intensification, and the trade-offs between objectives of producers and policy makers. Depending on the policy trade offs, intensification of existing production systems, such as the dual purpose system, may be preferable to substitution of specialized technologies from temperate countries. More information is required about production possibilities, social impacts, and the trade-offs among various strata of farmers and consumers to formulate better livestock policies for Central America.
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6 fig. 3 tab. 44 ref. Sum. (En)

Objectives were to analyze arguments that extensive cattle production causes deforestation in Central America and to evaluate trade-offs among policy objectives implied by intensification of cattle production. Intensification of cattle systems is unlikely to alter dramatically the deforestation rates in Central America because consumer demand for livestock products is not the principal factor motivating most migration to forest areas. Rather, many migrants are from resources-poor households and are seeking survival at the forest margin. Policies to slow deforestation need to improve economic opportunities for the rural poor and to promote sustainable agricultural land use through technologies that farmers will adopt. Policies to promote intensification need to recognize the role of existing extensive cattle systems, the technical limitations and opportunities that are associated with different types of intensification, and the trade-offs between objectives of producers and policy makers. Depending on the policy trade offs, intensification of existing production systems, such as the dual purpose system, may be preferable to substitution of specialized technologies from temperate countries. More information is required about production possibilities, social impacts, and the trade-offs among various strata of farmers and consumers to formulate better livestock policies for Central America.

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