Land Abandonment in an Agricultural Frontier After a Plant Invasion: The Case of Bracken Fern in Southern Yucatan, Mexico
Plant invasions and their impact on land use pose difficult research questions, due to the complex relationships between the ecological nature of the invasion and the human responses to the invasion. This paper focuses on the linkages between an invasion of bracken fern and land use decisions in an agricultural frontier in southern Mexico. Agriculture in this region is practiced on an extensive basis, using traditional slash-and-burn techniques of temporary cultivation and continuous rotation through forest fallow. We investigate the factors that affect the decision of a subsistence farmer to either continue cultivating an invaded agricultural plot or permanently abandon the plot and cultivate elsewhere. We develop an agricultural household model of land use choices, where households maximize utility subject to constraints on land, labor, and income. We subsequently test the hypotheses raised, using data from a small household survey performed in the region in 2002.
Volume (Year): 35 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
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