The Population, Society and Inequality Colloquium Series presents
“Space, Place, Population and Environment: Recent Processes in Latin America and
with David López-Carr, Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Social Science Plaza B, Room 4250
In explaining variability in tropical deforestation, land change scientists have focused almost exclusively on in situ (or “on-farm”) resource use, while population scholars have largely ignored rural-to-rural migration. This lecture investigates the primary proximate and underlying causes of deforestation in the humid tropics with a case study from Guatemala. To investigate the first cause of this phenomenon, farmer land use, in 1998 López-Carr collected data from over 500 farmers in Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR). To address the second cause of deforestation in the MBR, migration, he conducted interviews with community leaders in twenty-eight communities of MBR settler origin. Evidence suggests that space and place remain essential heuristics to understanding the deforestation process in the tropics. Follow-up interviews with the same households in 2009 provide a unique panel data set. Results from the MBR reveal several factors positively related to forest clearing at the farm level including family size, secure land title, duration on the farm, agricultural intensification, ethnicity, and farm size. Results from areas of origin of migrants to the MBR suggest that larger families, Q’eqchí Maya, landless households, families with small or environmentally degraded plots, households with poor access to labor and produce markets, the least educated, and the exceptionally poor run the greatest risk for migration to the frontier. Evidently, attention to both migration origin and destination areas enhances options for policy interventions aimed at sustainable rural development and forest conservation.
Sponsored by the Center for Immigration, Population and Public Policy
For further information, please contact Jayne Lee Yang, firstname.lastname@example.org or 949-824-2566.