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Pobreza, Deforestación y Pérdida de la Biodiversidad en Guatemala


  • Ludger J. Loening

    (Instituto Ibero-Americano de Investigaciones Económicas, Universidad de Goettingen)

  • Michael Markussen

    (Instituto de Geografía, Universidad de Goettingen)


This paper explores the causes of deforestation and biodiversity loss in Guatemala and is organized into 4 parts. First, an overview about deforestation in Guatemala from 1950-2000 is provided, and the relationship between deforestation and biodiversity loss is explored. Secondly, some underlying causes of deforestation are examined. While caution is needed about many conventional hypotheses, there are strong reasons to believe that higher rural wages generated by greater off-farm employment opportunities reduce deforestation. Thirdly, an empirical analysis indicates that agricultural activities in rural areas remain closely tied to deforestation because of the virtual absence of non- environmental assets of the poor. And finally, some doubts are placed on the excessive establishment of Integrated Conservation and Development Projects (ICDPs) within the countryside. In particular, the paper concludes that for the case of Guatemala strengthening the rural non- farm sector and human capital formation should be regarded as a key elements of a development strategy that tries to combine biodiversity conservation within a framework of sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation. El presente trabajo explora las causas de la deforestación y la pérdida de la biodiversidad en Guatemala. El documento se divide en cuatro partes. En la primera parte, se presenta una generalización sobre la deforestación en Guatemala entre 1950-2000. Así mismo, se explora la relación entre la deforestación y la pérdida de la biodiversidad. En la segunda parte, se examinan algunas de las causas de la deforestación. Aunque es necesario analizar con cuidado algunas de las hipótesis convencionales, hay razones sólidas para creer que mayores salarios rurales generados por mejores opciones de empleo no agrícola reducen la deforestación. En la tercera parte, se realiza un análisis empírico, el cual indica que las actividades agrícolas en las áreas rurales están fuertemente relacionadas a la deforestación debido a la ausencia de activos no ambientales de los pobres, como por ejemplo la educación. Finalmente, se plantean algunas dudas sobre el establecimiento excesivo de áreas protegidas dentro del país. En particular, el trabajo concluye que el fortalecimiento del sector rural no agrícola y la formación de capital humano deberían tomarse como elementos claves para una estrategia de desarrollo que intente combinar conservación de la biodiversidad con crecimiento económico sostenible y reducción de la pobreza.

Suggested Citation

  • Ludger J. Loening & Michael Markussen, 2003. "Pobreza, Deforestación y Pérdida de la Biodiversidad en Guatemala," Development and Comp Systems 0301003, EconWPA, revised 14 Jan 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0301003
    Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print on HP; pages: 43; figures: included

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gibson, Clark C. & Marks, Stuart A., 1995. "Transforming rural hunters into conservationists: An assessment of community-based wildlife management programs in Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 941-957, June.
    2. Elizabeth G. Katz, 2000. "Social Capital and Natural Capital: A Comparative Analysis of Land Tenure and Natural Resource Management in Guatemala," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(1), pages 114-132.
    3. Barrett, Christopher B. & Arcese, Peter, 1995. "Are Integrated Conservation-Development Projects (ICDPs) Sustainable? On the conservation of large mammals in sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(7), pages 1073-1084, July.
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    More about this item


    Biodiversity; Deforestation; Econometrics; Education; Integrated Conservation and Development Projects; Poverty; Rural Non- farm Employment; Guatemala; Biodiversidad; Deforestación; Econometría; Educación; Areas protegidas; Pobreza; Empleo rural no agrícola;

    JEL classification:

    • C20 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - General
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry

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