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Synergies between livestock production and hydrological function in Arenal, Costa Rica

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  • Aylward, Bruce
  • Echeverr a, Jaime
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    Abstract

    Conventional wisdom amongst environmentalists holds that the cutting of tropical forest for livestock production is not only bad business but also bad for the environment. In particular, it is thought that conversion to pasture leads to a rise in the sedimentation of waterways and reservoirs, an increase in flooding and loss of dry season water supply. Using the case of the Rio Chiquito watershed (which drains into Lake Arenal, Costa Rica), the paper questions this conventional wisdom. The paper demonstrates that both livestock production and the associated downstream hydrological impacts represent important values to the local economy; values that significantly outweigh expected returns from options for reforestation or forest regeneration. Given that non-hydrological externalities associated with livestock production are expected to be of minimal importance in the watershed, there is little reason as is often proposed to foster large-scale reforestation of the watershed or to purchase land for protection. Instead efforts should focus on how to maximize the complementary returns from livestock and the support to hydroelectric power provided by water production.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Environment and Development Economics.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 03 (July)
    Pages: 359-381

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:endeec:v:6:y:2001:i:03:p:359-381_00

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    Cited by:
    1. Ajit Menon & SHARACHCHANDRA LELE & Ishwar Patil & Shrinivas Badiger & Rajeev Kumar, 2009. "The Economic Impact of Forest Hydrological Services on Local Communities: A Case Study from the Western Ghats of India," Working Papers id:1820, eSocialSciences.
    2. Lele, Sharachchandra & Srinivasan, Veena, 2013. "Disaggregated economic impact analysis incorporating ecological and social trade-offs and techno-institutional context: A case from the Western Ghats of India," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 98-112.

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