Links between economic liberalization and rural resource degradation in the developing regions
This paper examines evidence of the effects of economic liberalization and globalization on rural resource degradation in developing countries. The principal resource effects of concern are processes of land use change leading to forestland conversion, degradation and deforestation. The main trends in globalization of interest are trade liberalization and economy-wide reforms in developing countries that have 'opened up' the agroindustrial sectors, thus increasing their export -orientation. Such reforms have clearly spurred agroindustrialization, rural development and economic growth, but there is also concern that there may be direct and indirect impacts on rural resource degradation. The direct impacts may occur as increased agricultural activity leads to conversion of forests and increased land degradation from 'unsustainable' production methods. However, there may also be indirect effects if agroindustrial development displaces landless, near-landless and rural poor generally, who then migrate to marginal agricultural lands and forest frontier regions. This paper explores these direct and indirect effects of globalization and agroindustrialization on rural resource degradation both generally, plus through examining case study evidence. The paper focuses in particular on the examples of structural adjustment, trade liberalization and agricultural development in Ghana, and maize sector liberalization in Mexico under North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). © 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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