Edited by David Pearce, Corin Pearce and Charles Palmer
Chapter 14: Can carbon trading reduce de-forestation by slash-and-burn-farmers? Evidence from the Peruvian Amazon
14. Can carbon trading reduce deforestation by slash-and-burn farmers? Evidence from the Peruvian Amazon Susana Mourato and Joyotee Smith 1 INTRODUCTION Slash-and-burn agriculture by small-scale farmers is estimated to account for about one third of the deforestation in tropical America. In a slash-and-burn system, farmers typically clear the land for agriculture and plant crops during one or two years, after which the land is left fallow for varying periods, while another part of the farm is cleared for agriculture. As a result, within a few decades of slash-and-burn colonists moving into an area, only small areas of primary forest are left in the farm (Fujisaka, 1996; Smith et al., 1999). In addition, yields decline over time because, typically, fallow periods do not tend to be long enough to permit full recuperation of crop productivity (Theile, 1993). Various factors have led to increased migration into forested areas and to deforestation. These include construction of penetration roads, limited employment opportunities, land degradation and perverse incentives for speculative land acquisition and cattle ranching (Smith et al., 1998). Both economic and institutional factors led migrants to practise slash-and-burn agriculture rather than adopt less environmentally damaging land use alternatives such as agroforestry (Current et al., 1985). Forests provide a variety of environmental beneﬁts: global beneﬁts include carbon storage and biodiversity protection, while possible local and regional beneﬁts comprise a number of ecological functions such as watershed protection, climate stability and soil protection. However, market failure prevents farmers from taking these local, regional...
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