Poverty, Policy and Deforestation

 

The ASB matrix helps policy makers weigh the different benefits (global, national, local) produced by different land use systems. ASB Summary Matrix for Sumatra by T. Tomich.: Click to enlargeThe ASB matrix helps policy makers weigh the different benefits (global, national, local) produced by different land use systems. ASB Summary Matrix for Sumatra by T. Tomich.: Click to enlarge

Efforts to develop land use alternatives and policy options to curb deforestation are futile without careful consideration of the objectives of farmers and policymakers at various levels.

The ASB domain is home to a rural population of over 430 million people, many of whom depend upon tropical forests for their income and their survival. If alternative systems and technologies are not profitable and socially acceptable for smallholders, they will have little prospect for adoption (hence impact). Similarly, weak markets and other institutions can thwart adoption of technological innovations by smallholders.

 

Results of this research

ASB results indicate that a remarkably wide range of smallholder land use options are agronomically sustainable, depending upon the larger environmental and economic context. Whether or not these sustainable options can be adopted depends on a range of policy and institutional innovations, including means to effectively protect natural forests and to compensate households for foregone opportunities.

This working group was active from 1996 - 2000

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